Food & Wine magazine on Thursday named Suerte executive chef Fermín Núñez one of its 13 best new chefs in the country. The honor is the most recent national praise for Núñez and the restaurant, which has landed on several national lists since opening in 2018.
Núñez has helped guide the modern Mexican restaurant in East Austin to a place among the Top 10 in Austin, and earned a stellar review from the American-Statesman months after opening on the strength of the restaurant’s creative, well-executed dishes like suadero tacos, whole fish and roasted beet tostada.
“It’s definitely an honor to be included in this years list. This past year was a rollercoaster of emotions, it felt like we were all jumping out of a building and figuring out how to craft the parachute on the way down,” Núñez told the American-Statesman. “Although the pandemic is not over, this makes all the hard work the whole team put in the last year even more meaningful and serves as a constant reminder that ‘es gonna be okay.'”
Núñez, a native of Torreón, Mexico, and veteran of Rene Ortiz’s Launderette, is the 11th Austin chef to earn the praise from one of the country’s preeminent food magazines, joining Will Packwood (2001, Emilia’s), David Bull (2003, Driskill Grill), Tyson Cole (2005, Uchi), Bryce Gilmore (2011, Barley Swine), Paul Qui (2014, Qui), Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas (2015, Olamaie), Kevin Fink (2016, Emmer & Rye), Yoshi Okai (2017, Otoko) and Tavel Bristol-Joseph (2020, Hestia, Emmer & Rye).
Suerte founder Sam Hellman-Mass plans to open Mexican seafood restaurant Este with Núñez in the former Eastside Cafe spot on Manor Road in the months ahead. There is no set opening date for the restaurant.
“As for the future of the team, restaurant and myself I want to keep focusing on doing what we do that got us here. The future is as fast as tomorrow, and you don’t get to have a good tomorrow if you don’t focus on today,” Núñez said.
Núñez is the only Texas chef to make the list this year, which also included Matt Horn of Horn Barbecue in Oakland and Paola Velez of Bakers Against Racism in Washington, D.C.