Have you voted for your favorite innovators today? They need your love! Some of these match-ups are running neck and neck, and the excitement is mounting. Countdown to the end of this round: four days! (Until 11:59 p.m. Sunday night.) All this week we’re delving deeper into the lives of the 16 chefs featured in our Innovators bracket vote. So far we’ve covered Anita Lo vs. John Fraser, Michael Voltaggio vs. Ludo Lefebvre, Matt Dillon vs. Ethan Stowell, and Joshua Hopkins vs. Ryan Smith. Now we present our Texas contingent, Tyson Cole and Tim Byres.

Tim Byres: Chef-owner of a white-tablecloth restaurant in a Dallas hotel called Smoke, with a barbecue pit and a smoker, serving dishes that invariably include andouille sausage, grits, and ribs. What about any of this sets Byres apart? His carefully tended vegetable garden; his homemade pickles, charcuterie, jams, and preserves; his focus on local-seasonal fare and hormone-free meat; the “100 Mile Cheese Plate.” And “the finest Bloody Mary in Dallas, possibly in the entire land.” Byres came to Smoke from prominent Dallas fine-dining restaurants Stephan Pyles and Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, and was asked by Michelle Obama to help launch her campaign to fight obesity.

Tyson Cole: “His food doesn’t taste like anyone else’s.” That’s the opinion offered by our senior editor Roxanne Webber, who visited Cole’s Uchiko while on CHOW Tour in Austin. The chef is a white Florida native making sushi because “selfishly, it’s the restaurant I wanted to eat at.” And according to Brett Anderson writing about Cole’s first restaurant, Uchi, in the Oxford American, “he has created one of the country’s great Japanese restaurants” in Austin, Texas. Cole worked his way up, learning the basics but also refining his own personal style, melding Japanese technique and ingredients with wisps of flavor innovation—particularly in his pairing of seafood and citrus. Alan Richman anointed Uchiko, the Japanese farmhouse-style restaurant that Cole opened last summer, one of the 10 best new restaurants in the U.S. in January. Coming in November: Uchi Houston.


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