18 Denver Culinary Industry Leaders Recognized Ahead of Rising Stars Restaurant Week

If someone asked you to say the first word that came to mind when it comes to Denver, what would you say? Some of the most common answers would be mountains, the Colorado Avalanche and the unwritten rule that every man between the ages 22 and 26 has to grow a mustache. It wouldn’t be a first thought to think of Denver as a true foodie city. However, StarChefs is here to prove why that’s wrong.

Anna and Anthony Nguyen of sắp sửa. Photo courtesy of StarChefs.

For the third time, StarChefs Magazine, a restaurant industry magazine, has returned to Denver to select their 2022 Rising Stars. This is an accolade only available to the chefs of the highest skill level, in the kitchen and as a leader. StarChefs has supported the restaurant business since 1995, and for the 77th time, they want to give back.

“Denver is a city where the fresh air breeds fresh creativity and the local appetite for life injects positive
energy into its bars and restaurants,” said Managing Partner Will Blunt. “With a recent influx of culinary talent, and steady organic growth from within, Denver is establishing itself as a top tier, destination-worthy food city.”

From July 19 to August 2, the magazine is giving the selected winners space to wow the Denver public with their trademark dishes, drinks and wine pairings. This gives chefs the opportunity to get familiar with the city and also shows the Denver locals what the future of American dining looks like. From over hundreds of in-person tastings and interviews judged by a set of national standards, the upcoming Denver Rising Stars Restaurant Week is sure to be filled with fierce, delicious dishes and drinks to put a new chef’s name on the map.

Dish at BRUTØ. Photo courtesy of StarChefs.

The Rising Star class of 2022 consists of 18 different culinary professionals, each unique in their craft while all sharing qualities of selflessness and leadership in the kitchen and out in their respective communities. To extend the gratitude, StarChefs is partnering with Comal Heritage Food Incubator throughout the Restaurant Week. For each dish sold at Comal throughout the week, Starchefs will donate $5 to Focus Points and the incubator.

READ: An Urban Farming Incubator Debuts In Globeville and Elyria-Swansea

In the upcoming week, indulge in some of the finest dining Denver has to offer, and give these new chefs a chance to blow you away.

Photo Courtesy of Starchefs via Starchefs.com

2022 StarChefs Denver Rising Stars Award Winners


Manuel Barella Lopez of Bellota

Dave Hadley of Samosa Shop

Anna and Anthony Nguyen of sắp sửa

Taylor Stark of The Wolf’s Tailor

Brian Wilson of Cart-Driver LoHi


Michael Diaz de Leon of BRUTØ


Adam Branz and Jessica Richter of Split Lip, an Eat Place


Danielle and Tajahi Cooke of Chef Kitchen at Freedom Street Social and Ms. Betty’s Cooking

Bartenders McLain Hedges and Mary Allison Wright of Yacht Club


Liliana Myers of Safta


Alex Jump of Death & Co


Clara Klein of Sunday Vinyl

Chris Rogers of Tavernetta


Shawn Bergin of Bakery Four


The 2022 class of Denver Rising Stars anonymously voted on a Mentor Award Winner. The award goes to a chef who supports and inspires young restaurant professionals in their community. For his ability to nurture talent, combined with his generosity, skill and vision, Chef Kelly Whitaker is the recipient of the 2022 StarChefs Denver Mentor Award.

Kelly Whitaker of id est

Learn more about Denver Rising Stars Restaurant Week here.