StarChefs Announces 2020 Seattle Rising Stars Award Winners

The culinary professionals will be honored and celebrated at Block 41on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Seattle (January 2020) — StarChefs, the national restaurant industry magazine, announces the 2020 class of Seattle Rising Stars. The StarChefs editorial team met with nearly 100 Seattle chefs, pastry chefs, bartenders, sommeliers, and artisans. 

“Construction cranes in the Seattle skyline are commonplace, just like they were when we were last in town in 2015. The city is still booming, and the restaurant industry remains dynamic, if volatile. These Rising Stars have the vision and talent to make a lasting impact,” says Sean Kenniff, StarChefs Deputy Editor.   

The Rising Stars will be celebrated at an awards ceremony and walk-around tasting gala next month at Block 41. The event is ticketed and open to the public. 

“Winners Melissa Miranda, Chera Amlag and Geo Quibuyen, and Aaron Verzosa and Amber Manuguid demonstrate the exciting impact that the Filipino-American community is having on the industry and the city. Taylor Thornhill runs a program at Bateau that is a paragon of sustainability and upcycling. And at El Xolo and Raiz, Ricardo Valdes is cooking some of the most soulful Mexican food we’ve had anywhere,” Kenniff says.

StarChefs is partnering with FareStart. FareStart is a James Beard Award- winning nonprofit organization that transforms lives, disrupts poverty, and nourishes communities through food, life skills, and job training. FareStart provides hands on training to students through its social enterprise cafes, restaurants, catering operations, and community and school meals programs. 

The Rising Stars Awards honor up-and-coming chefs and hospitality professionals who represent the vanguard of the contemporary American dining scene. Since 2003, StarChefs has held awards in 23 cities and regions across the country. This will be the 68th class of Rising Stars and the fourth from Seattle.        

StarChefs Seattle Rising Stars Event Details

  • When: Tuesday, February 18, 2020
  • 5:45pm VIP Reception | 6:30pm Awards Ceremony
  • 7:15pm – 9:30pm Tasting Gala at Block 41, 115 Bell Street 

Tickets: General admission tickets are $80 and grant access to the Awards Ceremony and Tasting Gala. VIP tickets are $125 and grant access to the VIP Reception featuring sparkling wine and passed hors d’oeuvres, along with the Awards Ceremony and Tasting Gala. Tickets can be purchased via and Eventbrite.

2020 StarChefs Seattle Rising Stars Award Winners


  • Melissa Miranda | Musang
  • Ricardo Valdes | El Xolo
  • Aaron Verzosa & Manager/Co-owner Amber Manuguid | Archipelago
  • Nicole Matson | How to Cook a Wolf
  • Mutsuko Soma | Kamonegi
  • Jaimon Westing | No Anchor
  • Maximillian Petty | Eden Hill Restaurant

Community Chef Presented by Kikkoman USA
Shota Nakajima | Adana

Sustainability Chef Presented by St. Supéry
Taylor Thornhill | Bateau

Crystal Chiu | Canlis

BAKER Presented by Butter of Europe
Ben Campbell | Ben’s Bread and Sea Creatures

Chera Amlag and Geo Quibuyen | Hood Famous Bakeshop and Hood Famous Cafe + Bar 

Seamus Platt & Scott Johnson | The Shambles

RESTAURATEUR Presented by Singer M. Tucker
Brian Clevenger | General Harvest Restaurants

SOMMELIER Presented by Wines from Spain
Alexandra Stang | Hitchcock

Jennifer Akin | Rumba
Cera Grindstaff | Stampede Cocktail Club

Steve Luke | Cloudburst Brewing

Jake Paulson and Mike Steiner | Anchorhead Coffee

VIP Host Chef
Jesse Souza | Six Seven at The Edgewater Hotel 

StarChefs will announce additional awards at the event, including the following:

  • Art of Presentation Award presented by Steelite International
  • Mentor Award presented by Vitamix Commercial


Symrise, Steelite International, Vitamix Commercial, Niman Ranch, S.Pellegrino, Wines from Spain, Butter of Europe, TCHO, St. Supéry, Kikkoman USA, Singer M. Tucker, True Aussie Lamb, Compass Group, Fresh Origins, Lone Mountain Wagyu, Savencia Cheese USA, Buffalo Trace, PacknWood 


About StarChefs
StarChefs has supported the restaurant industry since 1995 and serves as an essential resource and platform for restaurant professionals, as well as a backstage pass for food-savvy consumers. StarChefs’ original content is driven by in-person tastings and interviews across the world, and its mission is to catalyze culinary professionals’ success and give them the tools to overcome specific challenges. Now in its 14th year, StarChefs hosts the annual International Chefs Congress, an industry-only symposium featuring the world’s preeminent culinary talent. Through its Rising Stars Awards and quarterly Rising Stars magazine, StarChefs has recognized up-and-coming industry professionals in four markets each year since 2003. StarChefs features top chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, and artisans in more than 35,000 published pages of original, industry-focused content, generates over 4 million page views annually, and was nominated for “Best Web Site” by the James Beard Foundation. The site also connects hospitality professionals to careers in foodservice through its online platform, StarChefs JobFinder. Connect with StarChefs on Instagram, Twitter,and  Facebook.



Written by Charles Koh

Founded EatSeattle, and has continued to use his expertise as editor-in-chief to guide the website’s growth over the last five years. Koh’s experience focuses on digital marketing and social media, and has been a part of several companies, some of which he created, specializing in both areas over the course of his career. Koh was previously with Google and Zagat where he helped expand and grow communities worldwide.

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