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Rising Stars '08: The Full List, and The Snubs

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The Chronicle's annual list of Rising Star Chefs was released today, and it being the closest thing San Francisco has to an official coronation of the next big things, it's worth some discussion. Plus, as talent scout Bauer is quick to point out, the Rising Star Chefs series has a pretty good track record in diagnosing hotness. So without further ado, here is this year's list, along with the chefs' age, restaurant, and (as is always somehow mentioned in lists like these) the place where they learned to love to cook:

· Ian Begg, 26, Cafe Majestic: "The Contra Costa native knew he wanted to be a chef after he started working in the pantry at Casa Orinda at age 14, prepping salads and desserts."

· Jonnatan Leiva, 29, Jack Falstaff: "High school Home Ec class is where Jonnatan Leiva first thought that he might have a future as a cook. A fellow student noticed that he always got the best grades for cooking."

· Jeremy Fox and Deanie Hickox Fox, both 31, Ubuntu: "Growing up in Cleveland and Atlanta, Jeremy Fox says his grandparents ran a pizzeria, and 'ever since I was a kid, I wanted a restaurant.'"

· Richard Corbo, 29, Ducca: "He spent high school and much of college working in both the front and back of the house at a local Italian restaurant called Il Giardinello"

· Christopher Kostow, 31, Meadowood: "Kostow started cooking at age 14, working in the kitchens at the Ravinia Festival near his hometown of Chicago. He continued working in kitchens throughout high school"

The lesson here? Get started early, future cooks of America. The list, as a whole, is pretty spot on, especially when compared to the "long list" of Beard nominees for rising stars. Surely this year's crop is a deserving one and myriad congrats are in order to the six stars, but what we want to know is: who, if anyone, is missing? We can think of a few possibilities—and a few more currently sans restaurant. In any event, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter; your snubs in the comments field, please.
· Rising Star Chefs 2008 [Chron]
· Priority Alert: Early James Beard Nominations Released [~ESF~]

[Jack Falstaff photo courtesy]