After sorting through hundreds of nominations, Eater has selected 48 semifinalists to be considered for the Young Guns class of 2016. Two Atlanta representatives made the cut: Gunshow sous chef Spencer Gomez and Amer head bartender Matt Welch.
Here's what Gunshow executive chef Joey Ward had to say about the 28-year-old Gomez:
As the restaurant has become increasingly more popular, and my attention has become needed for charity events and off-premise obligations, I can rest assured that Gunshow is in the hands of a natural leader. Spencer is quite often the first person in the building every day and the last one to leave.
His talents in the kitchen exceed his years of age and experience, demonstrating the skills and composure of someone twice his age. He has a passion for charcuterie and has taught me a lot myself. Gunshow would not exist in its current level of execution without Spencer.
In his nomination, a fan of 26-year-old Welch touted the bartender's unique cocktail mind:
Matt Welch has a huge knowledge of cocktails history and recipes, but he doesn't really reference that directly; instead he plays with spirits in unconventional ways. He recently said that the best drinks he seems to make have at least 7 ingredients. Which isn't that he tries to over complicate things, so much as he likes the process of blending ingredients into drinks that you can't put your finger on, like the Admiral Daiqbar or the Walking Ted from one of his many runs behind the stick at Eat Me Speak Me.
Eater's annual class of Young Guns celebrates tremendous new culinary talent under the age of 30 or with fewer than five years experience. In the weeks that follow and leading up to the announcement of the 2016 Eater Young Guns winners on June 28, Eater will share background on the stories and experiences of these professionals to provide insight into why they stand out in the industry and what to expect from them in the years to come. Make your voice heard and share your own thoughts here.