20 Denver chefs, bartenders and more named 2022 StarChefs Rising Stars

Denver is home to 20 up-and-coming chefs, bartenders, sommeliers and restaurateurs who should be on your radar now, according to StarChefs.

For the restaurant trade publication’s annual Rising Star Awards, five U.S. cities’ rising restaurant and bar professionals are honored: Denver, Washington D.C., Nashville, New Orleans and San Francisco each have their own class of awarded professionals in 2022.

Winners have all worked for less than a decade in their senior-level positions such as executive chef, beverage director and bar director.

“In each market, the editorial team tastes and interviews with over 150 chefs, pastry chefs, bartenders, sommeliers, and artisans, ultimately selecting a group of 18 to 24 professionals that best represent the future of American dining,” the StarChefs website says of its Rising Stars program. “Creativity, ambition, presentation, philosophy and, most importantly, delicious food, cocktails and/or pairings win a professional the designation of a StarChefs Rising Star.”

To celebrate the Denver winners, StarChefs will host Rising Stars Restaurant Week(s) from July 19 to Aug. 2. During that time, diners can go to any of the winners’ establishments and order “the signature dishes, desserts, pastries, drinks and pairings that wowed the StarChefs editorial team.” Signature food and drinks are also listed with recipes on the StarChefs website.

Here are the 2022 Rising Stars Denver award-winners, along with their respective award categories and the associated businesses where you can try their food and drinks.

Manuel Barrella Lopez – Chef – Bellota

Shawn Bergin – Baker – Bakery Four

Tajahi and Danielle Cooke – Community – Freedom Street Social

Michael Diaz de Leon – Game Changer – Bruto

Dave Hadley – Chef – Samosa Shop at Room for Milly

Alex Jump – Bartender – Death & Co

Clara Klein – Sommelier – Sunday Vinyl

Saura Kline – Host Chef – Local Jones

Liliana Myers – Pastry Chef – Safta

Anthony and Anna Nguyen – Chefs – Sap Sua

Jessica Richter and Adam Branz – Restaurateurs – Split Lip, an Eat Place

Chris Rogers – Sommelier – Tavernetta

Taylor Stark – Chef – The Wolf’s Tailor

Kelly Whitaker – Mentor – id est hospitality group (Basta, Bruto, Dry Storage, The Wolf’s Tailor)

Brian Wilson – Chef – Cart-Driver LoHi

Mary Allison Wright and McLain Hedges – Community – Yacht Club

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