Hall of Fame: Jason Alley of Comfort, Pasture
First Place: Walter Bundy, Shagbark
4901 Libbie Mill East Blvd., Suite 175
Second Place: Brittanny Anderson, Metzger Bar and Butchery
Third Place: Mike Ledesma, Richmond Restaurant Group
When Jason Alley isn’t curing ham or thinking about collards, he’s opening new restaurants. The Oaxacan-focused Flora in the old Balliceaux space, the soon-to-open Sur Taco inside Champion Brewing Co. and Bingo, an arcade and brewery in Scott’s Addition, are about to round out his portfolio. Chef Walter Bundy has made it his mission to celebrate Virginia’s farmers, fishermen and producers. He paid his cooking dues at the Jefferson’s Lemaire for 15 years. But since last summer, Bundy has been happily ensconced at his stylishly sophisticated restaurant, Shagbark, where the communal table is made from a 19th-century shagbark hickory tree taken from his in-laws’ farm along the James River. And Bundy is still getting used to being responsible for everything — “being the guy who makes the decisions and living with the results,” he says. “It’s amazing and it’s scary at the same time.” He needn’t worry, his Southern skill with ingredients that read like a map of Virginia — Chincoteague, Goochland, Surry County — has won hearts and bellies.