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2nd Annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Nominees Revealed in Austin, Texas

Austin is a tasty town and there’s so much more than just Tex Mex and BBQ. Don’t get us wrong, we have some of the best in both of those categories, but we also have some of the best restaurants, chefs, pastry chefs,sommeliers, brewers and craft bartenders. Join the 2nd Annual CultureMapTastemaker Awards taking place this year on Thursday, April 11 as the best of the best are announced.


This year’s event will again benefit the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering awareness and innovation in the Central Texas culinary community including food, wine and craft brews. Cathy Cochran-Lewis, president of the AFWA, announced that just last year the Alliance awarded $20,000 in grants to those in the culinary community including Argus Cidery, Telecote Farms and the Connally High School Culinary Arts program.

We’ve got the scoop on this year’s nominees.


  • Barley Swine
  • Congress
  • La Condesa
  • The Carillon
  • Lenoir


  • Tyson Cole of Uchi and Uchiko
  • Shawn Cirkiel of ParksideOlive & June and The Backspace
  • Todd Duplechan of Lenoir
  • Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine
  • Josh Watkins of The Carillon

Pastry Chefs

  • Stephen Cak of ParksideOlive & June and The Backspace
  • Jodi Elliott of Foreign & Domestic
  • Jessica Maher of Lenior
  • Plinio Sandalio of The Carillon
  • Laura Sawicki of Congress

Sommeliers/Beverage Directors

  • Bill Elsey of the Red Room Lounge
  • Chris McFall of Paggi House
  • Scott Ota of Driskill
  • Mark Sayre of Trio

Breweries include 

  • Austin Beerworks
  • Hops and Grain
  • Real Ale
  • Jester King
  • Thirsty Planet

Craft Bartenders

  • Jason Stevens of Bar Congress
  • Josh Loving of Clark’s
  • Tacy Rowland of Drink Well
  • Steven Robbins of Contigo
  • Brian Dressel of Midnight Cowboy

New to this year’s event is the availability of VIP passes, allowing special access one hour prior to the general public and an open bar. Also new to the event this year is the night will extend to include a festival, after party with a live band. The 12 judges selected to vote on the winners include those actively involved in Austin’s food and beverage scene and are revealed online. The judges will be joined by Chef David Bull, winner of the 2012 Awards, to help vote. Find out whose best at this year’s Tastemaker Awards which takes place on Thursday, April 11 at the Driskill Hotel. Tickets are available at austin.culturemap.com/tastemakers. Now you’ll know where to go on your next visit to the tasty town of Austin, Texas!

Nicole Carbon

Nicole Carbon

Nicole Carbon is the Editor-In-Chief of VODA Magazine. She is based in beautiful Sarasota, FL. For over a decade, she has been writing for both print and online media outlets about food, wine, travel, and other lifestyle-related finds. She received her Level 2 Award in Wines certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and writes a monthly wine column in the Venice Gondolier Sun. She contributes to Edible Sarasota, writes a health and wellness blog, and various feature articles and content for other media outlets. Previously, she wrote two magazine columns titled “A Girl Walks Into a Bar,” and “Inside the Kitchen.” Her work has appeared in the Austin American Statesman, Austin MD, Austin Monthly, Austin Woman, Austin Man, Citysearch Austin and Los Angeles, CultureMap.com, JetBlue’s blog, SRQ Magazine, and the list goes on. She has also made TV appearances on local NBC and Fox news affiliates as well as Cooking Channel’s Eat Street.

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