Janina O’Leary, Trace
Plucky pastry chef Janina O’Leary moved from Del Rio, Texas, to New York City at the ripe old age of 14 to become a chef. There, she attended culinary school and worked for some of the biggest names in the business at places like Per Se, Bouchon and Del Posto. Now back in Texas at Trace at the W Hotel here in town, the James Beard Award-nominated chef makes plated desserts that are reminiscent of childhood while still being refined and complex. We can’t get enough of her drunken doughnuts with vodka whipped cream, tequila-chile fudge sauce and bourbon dulce de leche, as well as her Meyer lemon budino with champagne sorbet, toasted marshmallow and strawberry-thyme meringue.