Last night, the 2016 class of Eater Young Guns was celebrated at The Rose Cafe-Restaurant in Venice. The 19 winners are at the top of their game — read more on them here.
— 2014 Young Guns alum JJ Johnson of The Cecil in Harlem hosted the event with Eater co-founder Lockhart Steele. Of the stage — and the winners — JJ said, "I've never seen anything shine this bright"
From the class, Christine Rivera, Maya Lovelace, Shuai Wang, and Ashley Shelton cooked, and Susana Querejazu provided a takeaway dessert. They were honored in front of 400 guests at the event, along with their fellow winners: Irene Li, Katrina Jazayeri, Laura Higgins-Baltzley, Daniel Pucci, Heather LaVine, Vic Christopher, Patrick Curran, Shuai Wang, Matt Welch, Dorothy Elizabeth, Julia Momose, Alex Negranza, Marie-Louise Friedland, Laura Meyer, Andrea Borgen, Maxfield Schnee.
Keep reading to see what went down at the event. But first, a special thanks to our sponsors: JJ Johnson for hosting, Talenti Gelato, Tito's Handmade Vodka, House Beer. Verterra Dinnerware, and Viceroy Santa Monica, Vox Media design and events teams, as well as The Normandie Club for hosting the Sunday pre-party.
— Here's what was served: nduja arancini from Ashley Shelton; a smoked fish "Japanese breakfast" from Shuai Wang; "Tennessee truffle + Carolina caviar" aka an angel biscuit with pickled ramp pimento cheese, chow chow, and country ham from Maya Lovelace; two tostadas (corn asado with uni and octopus) from Christine Rivera. Susana Querejazu provided pecan baci di dama sandwich cookies.
— When Maya Lovelace ran out of biscuits, she started serving pimento cheese on its own. It was still delicious, and people still ate it.
— Chef Irene Li of Mei Mei provided takeaway containers of sea salt. More than one hungover guest checked into say the salt ended up on their morning-after breakfasts. The brioche from the Rose was also a breakfast hit.
— Despite it being his place and all, chef Jason Neroni seemed happy to take a backseat to the action last night. He could mostly be found peeking out on the crowd from the kitchen after helping many of the Young Guns prep and serve their dishes all night long.
— Portland Young Guns restaurant Mae was the first to move all the units of their food, a beautiful Southern biscuit option that was the early hit of the party. A mystery guest ate EIGHT of maya's biscuits, hence she was the first chef to run out. That left more time for partying, of course.
— Counting themselves among the most attractive guys in the room, the always larger-than-life Nguyen Tran (sans his usual banana suit) and Mainland Poke's Ari Kahan threatened to Kickstart their own annual calendar featuring them eating photos of Hot Pockets. Who's got a few bucks for the cause?
— The first after party ended up at O'Brien's on Main Street Santa Monica. The drink of choice: the nitro California Creamin' vanilla cream ale. Oh, and last minute pub chicken wings for those that didn't get enough biscuits at the party.
— In L.A., the after-after party is almost always at a taco truck, and last night was no exception. Teams from Mae in Portland, LA's own Barcito, Charleston's Short Grain truck, and more converged on Tacos Tamix on Pico in Mid-City for a feast of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and other late night options off the hood of a nearby car.
— Still hanging around post-tacos? There's always room for karaoke, as Koreatown's own Recital room became the final stop of the evening. Nobody skipped on singing along to the N'Snyc medley, but the top songs of the night: Bohemian Rhapsody, Livin' on a Prayer, I Want It That Way, and R. Kelly's I Believe I Can Fly. Eater Young Gun Matt Welch made sure to take control of the microphone when it counted: