Jessica Attie—The New York Times/Redux

When Chef Edgar took the stage to accept the James Beard Award for Best Emerging Chef this year, you could feel the room soar with emotion and pride. Here he came, a child of immigrants, bootstrapping it with his fiancée to bring their dream of opening a restaurant alive, to accept this incredible honor and recognition that all the sacrifice and sweat meant something. Not just for him and his family but for his community, for everyone putting it on the line. His hustle and heart embodies the kind of leader that inspires generations to come. As a chef, I can appreciate the grit it took for him to create Nixta Taqueria and the investment they make in building up their community. When you think about what he’s already been able to do out of a teeny-tiny 100-sq.-ft. kitchen with one 8-ft. flat-top grill, just imagine the impact that lies ahead.

Samuelsson is a chef and restaurateur

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