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Austin-based chef named in FOOD & WINE’s 'Best New Chefs' List

Suerte Chef Fermín Nuñez was named in FOOD & WINE's 'Best New Chefs' List. (Suerte)

As recognition for bringing a taste of Torreón Coahuila, Mexico to the capital city, chef Fermín Nuñez of East Austin Mexican restaurant Suerte has been named one of FOOD & WINE's 2021 "Best New Chefs."

Coming in as the only Texas-based chef on the 33-year-running list, Nuñez will be awarded today in Aspen, Colorado, with nine other chefs from across the country who made it through the lengthy selection process.

"It's a true joy to be named a FOOD & WINE 'Best New Chef,'" Nuñez said in a press release. "I celebrate this as an honor to the craft I love and extend immeasurable gratitude to the team at Suerte."

Nationally renowned for its commitment to craft-made masa dishes, Suerte, 1800 E. 6th St., is the manifestation of 12-year chef Nuñez and fellow restaurateur Sam Hellman-Mass. The pair opened the restaurant in 2018 with a goal to create their own unique brand of Mexican food—one that is familiar to Austin but cooked with deep-rooted tradition.

With a profound love for masa, a trait he gets from his hometown, Nuñez uses a process called nixtamalization, which prepares dried corn kernels to be ground into dough for tortillas. Those corn tortillas, which are ground in-house and pressed-to-order, earned Nuñez features in Netflix's "The Taco Chronicles," Bon Appetit's "Brad Makes Tortillas" and The New York Times.

"Mexican food, to me, was always something that I was very passionate about because it meant something to me, and a tortilla—it's the canvas of Mexican cooking," Nuñez said.

Committed to the community as well as the craft, Nuñez has been in the kitchens of many beloved Austin establishments—La Condesa, Uchiko, Launderette and Barley Swine—and strives to support local by sourcing from Barton Springs Mill and other local farmers.

"This achievement is a testament to the importance and impact of hard work, and doing the right thing even when no one is looking," Nuñez said. "I take great pride in sharing my culture through food in new ways with our community."

And it doesn't stop in the kitchen, Nuñez has used his platform of more than 30,000 followers to raise awareness and funds for mental health in the service industry through the Mike & Sherry Project, cultivate leadership efforts through community farming with Urban Roots, and empower Latino voters through Jolt.

Suerte's menu fluctuates daily so no matter when you pay a visit to Nuñez, you'll be in for a delicious surprise.


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