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Atlanta Chefs to watch in 2011

A new crop of culinary stars to keep your eye on in the coming year

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Peter Chang

This is going to be interesting. After coming to America to cook at the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C.; cooking at restaurants throughout the Southeast; grabbing our attention and love with his explosive cooking at Marietta's Tasty China; leaving us bereft when he moved on; inspiring personal essays of obsession and longing in both the New Yorker and the Oxford American; and returning to Tasty China tentatively and sporadically, Peter Chang has opened an eponymous eatery in Sandy Springs. The restaurant promises to give Chang's Sichuan food the surroundings and service it deserves.

The prospect of having an upscale Chinese restaurant helmed by a world-class Chinese chef is exciting. Historically, Atlanta's restaurants have tended to be divided — upscale restaurants owned by Americans, or working class ethnic restaurants owned by recent immigrants. When international cuisine has been elevated to fine dining status, it's usually been Americanized to some extent. A Chinese-born chef with fiercely Chinese sensibilities opening an uncompromising restaurant signals a welcome change in this division. On the other hand, so much hype surrounds Chang, and so much speculation swirls about his ability to commit to one location that the chances for disappointment are great. Whatever happens, the saga of Chang will be a deliciously fascinating story to behold.

Peter Chang's, 6450 Powers Ferry Road, Sandy Springs. 678-766-8766.

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