Food & Wine Magazine Names America's Best New Chefs 2003

Al Roker Forecasts Tomorrow’s Culinary Idols at NYC Event
Contact: Elisa Shevitz
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New York, NY (April 1, 2003) – Dana Cowin, Editor in Chief of Food & Wine magazine, with master of ceremonies Al Roker of NBC's Today, announce Food & Wine's 2003 Best New Chefs in America. The ten winning chefs will be introduced tonight at the annual Best News Chefs event at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York City and will be featured on the cover of the July 2003 issue of Food & Wine. Notable past Food & Wine Best New Chefs will prepare signature dishes at the event.

Dana Cowin says, "Each year, we pride ourselves on finding the most promising new chefs who are pushing the boundaries of the culinary world; and this year is no exception. Our editors were completely blown away by the superior cooking ability and exceptional creativity they discovered. I expect that these chefs will be on top for their entire careers, and I am eager to watch them evolve."

Food & Wine Magazine's Best New Chefs in America 2003

Stuart Brioza, Tapawingo, Ellsworth, MI
David J. Bull, Driskill Grill, Austin, TX
Nobuo Fukuda, Sea Saw, Scottsdale, AZ
Cornelius Gallagher, Oceana, New York, NY
Gabriel Kreuther, Atelier at The Ritz-Carlton, New York, NY
Bryan Moscatello, Adega Restaurant + Wine Bar, Denver, CO
David Myers
, Sona, Los Angeles, CA
Angel Palacios, La Broche, Miami, FL
Bruce Sherman, North Pond, Chicago, IL
Scott Tycer, Aries Restaurant, Houston, TX

At the event, dishes will be prepared by past Best New Chefs: Tom Colicchio of 'wichcraft, Terrance Brennan of Artisanal Cheese Center, Dan Barber and Michael Anthony of Blue Hill, Nobu Matsuhisa of Nobu and Marc Vetri of Philadelphia's Vetri. Other acclaimed past Best New Chefs include Daniel Boulud, Wylie Dufresne, Todd English and Thomas Keller. Lincoln and The Estates of Ruffino will be sponsoring the event. Special thanks to Champagne Mumm, ABSOLUT, FIJI Water and Sam Adams.

In addition, the 2003 Best New Chefs will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the 21st annual Food & Wine Magazine Classic at Aspen in June when they are invited to prepare a special tasting dinner for hundreds of people.
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Stuart Brioza of Tapawingo in Ellsworth, Michigan
The town of Ellsworth has a population of just 400, but Stuart Brioza would stand out even in a big city. To stay stimulated, the Culinary Institute of America graduate—who worked at Chicago’s Park Avenue Cafe and Savarin before coming to Tapawingo in 2000—rides his motorcycle all around Michigan, meeting with farmers and bringing back local ingredients to use in his ambitious Euro-American cuisine: Michigan chestnut soup with grilled quail, brussels sprouts and salsify, for instance, or a summer stew of rabbit with shiitake mushrooms. Brioza says one of his favorite times of year in Michigan is early spring, when the state’s abundant ramps and morels are in season: “You can pull over and walk 10 feet off the road, and everywhere you look you’ll see tons and tons of ramps.”

David J. Bull of Driskill Grill in Austin, Texas
As a 10-year-old helping his grandmother peel garlic at the Italian restaurant his family owned in upstate New York, Bull would daydream about becoming a chef. Foods like tacos and salsas didn’t exactly enter into the fantasy, yet the 28-year-old is now creating some of the most exciting Mexican-inflected cuisine in the country. The Culinary Institute of America grad credits a stint working with chef Dean Fearing at the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas for inspiring him. “Here in Texas, you can get amazing classical Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex,” Bull says. “Not to mention delicious chicken-fried steak.” In his four years at Driskill Grill, Bull has wittily updated the local specialties: chicken-fried rabbit with corn on the cob, for example, or “firecracker” shrimp glazed with tequila, lime and butter, served with a pulled-pork soft taco and tomatillo-orange salsa.

Nobuo Fukuda of Sea Saw in Scottsdale, Arizona
Hoping to move to the United States, Tokyo native Nobuo Fukuda came to this country 23 years ago and took the first job he found, in a Benihana restaurant in Scottsdale. When he left Benihana, he detoured through a series of jobs, including a stint as a medical technician with the ski patrol, before returning to the kitchen—and not at a Benihana. Four years working with chef Shinji Kurita at Phoenix’s Yamakasa helped Fukuda, 43, refine his Japanese cuisine. He headed back to Scottsdale to work at Hapa under chef James McDevitt (an F&W Best New Chef 1999) before opening Sea Saw in the downtown restaurant district last summer. Inspired by a style of Japanese dining known as izakaya—similar to tapas—Fukuda creates a constantly changing small-plates menu of delicate, intensely flavorful dishes designed to pair well with wine: botan ebi (sweet shrimp) with sea-urchin sauce; poached tuna with cucumber sauce; and miso-marinated foie gras, served sushi-style atop a roll of nori-wrapped rice.

Cornelius Gallagher at Oceana in New York, New York
“I started out burning everything,” says 30-year-old Cornelius Gallagher, who cooked for his seven brothers and sisters when he was growing up in Long Island, New York. “I tried making croissants once, and they came out flat and black.” The turning point came at age 13, when Gallagher impressed his siblings with a perfect chicken cacciatore. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, he went to work with some of the country’s most revered names; in New York City, they were David Bouley at Bouley, Gray Kunz at Lespinasse and Daniel Boulud and Alex Lee at Daniel. At Oceana, where he’s been in charge of the kitchen since last year, Gallagher shows off impeccable French technique and his knack for unusual combinations, as in his Atlantic halibut in an almond-tea crust with white asparagus, Meyer lemon and pearl tapioca. Gallagher also enjoys creating his own versions of surf and turf, recently serving a mustard-glazed skate wing stuffed with tender braised pork cheeks.

Gabriel Kreuther at Atelier at The Ritz-Carlton in New York, New York
Anyone who walks into the stately Atelier in New York’s Ritz-Carlton, Central Park, expecting to be lulled by a traditional French menu is in for an enormous surprise. Since it opened last spring, Atelier has emerged as one of New York’s most thrilling restaurants, thanks to 33-year-old Kreuther. Born in France’s Alsace region, Kreuther says, “I was bothering my mother to teach me to cook when I was five years old.” After being sent to work in his uncle’s restaurant during summer vacations, then graduating from the École Hôtelière in Strasbourg, France, Kreuther landed a series of jobs at influential restaurants in Germany and Switzerland before coming to New York City, where he worked at La Caravelle and Jean Georges. At Atelier, Kreuther’s idiosyncratic and luxurious modern French cooking results in dishes like a croustillant (a thin pastry) stuffed with squab and foie gras and served with caramelized apple jus. Kreuther, who is always searching for unusual ingredients, says his latest obsession is hyssop, which tastes like a combination of anise and mint. “It’s just one herb, but it has such a wide range of flavors,” he says.

Bryan Moscatello, Adega Restaurant + Wine Bar in Denver, Colorado
Most chefs couldn’t get away with putting alphabet soup on the menu. Bryan Moscatello of Adega is just talented enough to pull it off. Fans of Campbell’s version wouldn’t recognize Moscatello’s riff, made with fragrant duck consommé, buttery egg noodles and generous amounts of duck confit, onion relish and shaved celery. Nor would a steak-and-eggs aficionado recognize Moscatello’s twist, made with venison and a perfectly fried duck egg and served with butter-braised cabbage and candied endive. Since his days as a preteen sitting in on the home economics classes his mother taught at a New Jersey high school, Moscatello planned to be a chef. After attending the Academy of Culinary Arts in Mays Landing, New Jersey, for a year, he worked at the Ute City Banque and the Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado, before opening Bistro Toujours in Deer Valley, Utah. At Adega, where he has headed the kitchen since the restaurant opened last summer, Moscatello, 34, says he enjoys serving “old-world dishes presented in a very American way. It’s innovative and fun, but it’s always steeped in tradition.”

David Myers of Sona in Los Angeles, California
David Myers, who opened Sona with his wife, pastry chef Michelle Myers last year, is not only one of the most talented young chefs in America, he’s also one of the most hard working: “One night we did 79 different tasting menus for 83 guests,” he says. Tireless and imaginative, the 28-year-old chef has always had a restless spirit. After a few months at a community college cooking school in Ohio, Myers decided the curriculum wasn’t moving fast enough, so he dropped out and took charge of his own education, working at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, Les Crayères in Reims, France, Daniel in New York City and Los Angeles’ Patina and Jaan. That rigorous training, combined with his own culinary bravado, is on display in dishes like a roasted cod with lovage-infused clam chowder and squid ink, and glazed prawns in a preserved-turmeric emulsion with lime leaves, yuca-root puree and bok choy. Myers says he loves playing to an unpredictable audience every night: “When we’re designing our tasting menus, we try to gauge what mood our guests are in. We like to see how risky they’re feeling.”

Angel Palacios of La Broche in Miami, Florida
When you sit down at La Broche, you don’t just get a menu: You get a “welcome cocktail” from 27-year-old Angel Palacios that might combine kiwi juice, bourbon and passion-fruit foam—a hint of the wild ride to come. “I love experimenting with textures,“ says the Barcelona-born chef, who might serve asparagus with razor clams, Roquefort cheese and walnuts, or prepare a garlic risotto with calamari ink, almonds and bacon. “I take traditional dishes from the Mediterranean and give them my own twist.” A nine-month stint with famed chef Ferran Adria at El Bulli in Roses, Spain, helped Palacios refine his mad-scientist sensibility. At La Broche in Madrid, where Palacios worked until moving to Miami last year, he created all the food at the restaurant, even the desserts: His interpretation of a childhood staple, pan con chocolate (bread with chocolate), reveals his ability to transform even the simplest dish. “I took small pieces of bread and sautéed them,” Palacios says. “Then I topped them with chocolate frappé, chocolate ice cream and chocolate candy.”

Bruce Sherman at North Pond in Chicago, Illinois
“I’d always been groomed to become a doctor or a lawyer,” says 41-year-old Bruce Sherman, “but in college I realized I could do whatever I damn well pleased.” He bided his time at the University of Pennsylvania before embarking on a food career. After working as a restaurant manager and a caterer, he enrolled at the Ferrandi cooking school, in Paris. Stints with Eric Frechon at his eponymous Paris restaurant and Sarah Stegner at Chicago’s Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton eventually brought him to North Pond three years ago. At North Pond he cooks “whatever he damn well pleases”—modern American cuisine with French inflections, such as sage-roasted pheasant breast with wild rice, sunchokes and foie gras jus, or grilled scallops with orange-braised endive and a parsnip-onion quenelle in a lemongrass-crustacean emulsion. Now that he’s working as a chef, does he find himself fantasizing about a career as a lawyer? “Never!” he says.

Scott Tycer at Aries in Houston, Texas
Waiting tables on the graveyard shift at a 24-hour greasy spoon might convince many people to quit the restaurant business for good. But it was just the incentive Scott Tycer needed: “I got sick of serving guys who would come in drunk after football games, so I decided to start cooking instead,” says the 32-year-old Houston-born Tycer, who was then an English major at the University of Texas at Austin. After college he immediately enrolled at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, which eventually led to a job at Spago in Palo Alto, California. He and his wife, Annika, opened Aries in November 2000 with a menu of delicious, creative modern American dishes: risotto bianco with finnan haddie (smoked haddock); roasted Pekin duck with poached pears and a delicate French puff pastry known as a pithiviers; and a three-onion brioche bread pudding with tomato-artichoke confit. The overachieving chef recently opened a bakery, too, which specializes in artisanal European-style breads.
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