A version of this story also appeared on NRN.com, Restaurant-Hospitality.com's sister website.
Food & Wine magazine this week unveiled its annual choices for Best New Chefs, a collection of up-and-coming talent reshaping the nation’s dining scene.
Being selected by Food & Wine editors and other contributors can be a career-defining moment. Alumni of the list over the past three decades include acclaimed chef/restaurateurs such as Nancy Silverton, Thomas Keller, Tom Colicchio, Nobu Matsuhisa and David Chang.
“At Food & Wine, we’re obsessed with finding new talent, and the Best New Chefs platform showcases that perfectly," magazine editor Nilou Motamed says. "We’re honored to give these incredible cooks the recognition they deserve, an award that has catapulted so many careers and will change these chefs’ lives forever.”
This year’s list included only one woman and the 11 selected hailed mostly from major cities, including San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC and New York.
Winners will be featured in the July issue of Food & Wine and will also be showcased at the magazine’s annual Food & Wine Classic event in Aspen from June 17-19.
Here’s the list:
David Barzelay of the Lazy Bear in San Francisco. This lawyer-turned-self-taught chef—one of Restaurant Hospitality’s “15 to watch in 2015,” got his start with an underground restaurant. Now guests buy tickets for Lazy Bear at $145-$175 a pop for a tasting menu, with tickets available a month at a time. Each night is like a “modern American dinner party,” the restaurant’s website says.
Ravi Kapur of Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco. Kapur is Hawaiian born and the restaurant is a tribute to the beach parties his uncle would cater on Maui. On the menu: Tuna poke with sesame oil, radish and nori cracker; asparagus with bone marrow bearnaise and brioche; and a slab of beef ribs with kimchi chili sauce, cauliflower and pickled red onion. Liholiho Yacht Club is also nominated for a James Beard Award for best new restaurant.
Iliana Regan of Elizabeth in Chicago. Regan is known for Nordic-style cooking that highlights Midwestern ingredients like acorn puree, pickled crab apples and cured bear meat. A quintessential dish: hen-of-the-woods mushrooms with edible weeds, juniper vinaigrette and roasted garlic aioli.
Edouardo Jordan of Salare in Seattle. He got his start as a server at Bennigan’s but later moved on to the likes of The French Laundry in Yountville, CA, and Per Se in New York. Now Jordan has come into his own at Salare with dishes like pork trotters and collard greens; ravioli made with sweetbreads, fiddlehead ferns, sunchokes and lamb sauce; and duck with dirty rice, trumpet royale mushrooms and peperonata.
Michael Gulotta of MoPho in New Orleans. This restaurant is known for its Delta-inspired Vietnamese food with dishes like red pepper jelly clams braised with white wine, mint, pepper jelly and coconut milk and served with beignets. On weekends, Gulotta (named a Restaurant Hospitality Rising Star) roasts a whole pig on the restaurant patio.
Brad Kilgore of Alter in Miami. Kilgore is described as playful with a menu that includes dishes like a barely poached egg with Italian truffle pearls that mimic caviar with scallop-and-gruyère foam.
Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye in Austin. Grains are Fink’s special passion and he mills up to 15 types in his kitchen, including emmer and rye, for which the restaurant is named. Examples on the menu include Blue Beard Durum spaghetti cacao e pepe with Challerhocker Cheese and dandelion greens; or a Hefeweizen ice cream sandwich with chestnut-and-emmer chocolate cookie.
Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury in Washington DC. Rose’s is described as a bi-level, farmhouse-hip space with a dinner party vibe. The menu might include a crispy pig ear salad with mango and cabbage or Peruvian-style chicken with fried yuca, sweet potato ceviche and plaintains. In February, Silverman opened a new concept called Pineapple and Pearls, which has a coffee shop in front and he plans to add high-end “super-fine dining” in the back. Silverman is nominated for a James Beard Award for best chef: Mid-Atlantic.
Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske of Contra and Wildair in New York City. These chefs are credited with redefining the notion of a wine bar at Wildair with deceptively simple dishes like potato tart with uni and jalapeno. Wildair is also nominated for a James Beard Award for best new restaurant. At their flagship Contra, they feature five-course tasting menus, often bringing in top chefs for collaboration dinners.
Kris Yenbamroong of Night + Market Song in Los Angeles. Featuring a menu inspired by street food from Northern Thailand, the magazine describes the restaurant as having “one of the coolest, most vibrant cuisines in Los Angeles.” Yenbamroong humbly calls it “booze food.”
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