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Best Richmond Chef 

Readers' Pick

Jason Alley

Comfort, 200 W. Broad St., 780-004 comfortrestaurant.com
Pasture, 416 E. Grace St., 780-0416, pasturerva.com

Second Place: Owen Lane, Vagabond

Third Place: Joe Sparatta, Heritage and Southbound

How much do we love you, Jason Alley? Let us count the ways. You opened Comfort, which offers some of the best meatloaf, mac 'n' cheese and bruléed banana pudding on a stretch of Broad Street when the arts district was just a twinkle in the city's eye. You sparked another revival on East Grace Street when you turned the key to Pasture, offering Southern-focused small plates that include pimento cheese and house-made onion dip and freshly fried potato chips worthy of their own essay. You brought talented women like partner Michele Jones and bar manager extraordinaire Beth Dixon to work tirelessly by your side on equal footing. And who else in this city deserves to be a spokesman for the much-beloved Duke's Mayonnaise? Owen Lane proved his mettle at the Magpie and now brings his crispy pig head torchon to Vagabond, next to the National. Joe Sparatta gave South Side a family-friendly restaurant of its own. But Heritage is his showcase, with a seasonally changing menu that includes charred octopus, Meyer lemon house-made rigatoni and Hudson Valley duck lavished with an apricot and cardamom purée.

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