My current grand resentment centers around Doug Flicker and what he is doing at Piccolo. Every award, every “best of” list that comes out that doesn’t include his name makes me a little angry. I loved the KARE 11 piece last weekend featuring Doug and Landon Schoenfeld from Haute Dish and I hope it spurs more Twin Citians to dine in those restaurants and ones like it. But for me, what Doug is doing is so special, and I think he is worthy of national honors. Nice segue . . . speaking of national honors . . . Last night in NYC, Food and Wine Magazine announced its best new chefs for 2011. I am done shooting for the season and on a nice hiatus for a few months; we are finishing post production on Season 4B, which airs in May. In between, we are airing a series of three special shows, culled from Bizarre Worlds episodes including material that has never been seen before. It’s thrilling to be able to share some of my favorite TV moments that never got out in the mainstream the way episodes of Bizarre Foods do. Anyway, I was in NYC doing some meetings and wound up at the F&W Magazine party. Here are the current crop of winners: F&W Best New Chefs:
- Viet Pham& Bowman Brown, Forage, Salt Lake City, UT
- Jason Franey, Canlis, Seattle, WA
- Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Austin, TX
- Stephanie Izard, Girl & the Goat, Chicago, IL
- James Lewis, Bettola, Birmingham, AL
- George Mendes, Aldea, NYC, NY
- Carlo Mirarchi, Roberta's Pizza, Brooklyn, NY
- Joshua Skenes, Saison, San Francisco, CA
- Kevin Willmann, Farmhaus, Saint Louis, MO
- Ricardo Zarate, Mo-Chica Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA
It’s a great group of talented young cooks and the party for them in an old brewery on the Upper East Side of NYC was epic. The best thing I ate all night was a tie between Lincoln’s Jonathan Benno’s chickpea tuna salad and A Voce’s missy robbins fonduta made with a perfect Tallegio. Benno was a class act all night long, serving from his booth even as other chefs abandoned ship to get their own party started. Everyone I spoke to told me Mendes from Aldea is the one to watch. I profiled Willmann in an upcoming Delta Sky Magazine issue so look for that next month. He’s a great chef. Congrats to all.I didn’t see Fifty Cent there but I got to chat with a lot of old friends: Michael White and his wife, Giovanna; Jeffrey Zakarian; Jimmy Bradley (best dressed dude at the party, JB . . . I want that leather blazer!); Susan Ungaro, whose Beard Foundation is launching some exciting new educational initiatives and some children’s programs as well; Curtis Stone; Nate Appleman; Rafael Brion from Eater; Tom Colicchio, who told me his 2-year-old plays a mean ukulele; Gail Simmons; Pat LaFrieda; Josh Ozersky; Gavin Kaysen and his wife; and about 100 former Top Chef -testants, which is hysterical on some level. I like these folks, don’t get me wrong, but watching the fourth person voted off of season three lurking around waiting to be noticed just cracks me up. I did introduce myself to several of them because i had urgent questions. After all, I am a Top Chef geek. Angelo DeSosa told me that in the Ma Peche episode his fish and white chocolate sauce was inspired by a Bizarre Foods ep on Hanoi where we dined at Chaca La Vong and ate the specialty dish that they cooked there for 100 years. Love that.
So on the way out of the event we all received a copy of the May issue and, SUPRISE, one of my recipes was on the cover. Look for it in coming weeks, and inside the magazine is an eight-page feature, as well. WOW. Huge thanks to Dana, Kate, Kristina, and Jen . . . I was blown away by what they did with my content.