The People's Best New Chef: Mid-Atlantic Contenders

By F&W Editors Posted April 01, 2015

At F&W, we name America’s 10 most brilliant up-and-coming chefs every year. Now we want to know who you think is the most talented new chef in America.

At F&W, we name America’s 10 most brilliant up-and-coming chefs every year. Now we want to know who you think is the most talented new chef in America.

Regions:
California, Great Lakes, Gulf Coast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New England, New York Area, Northwest & Pacific, Southeast, Southwest

Nicholas Elmi

Photo © Amandarose G. Szezorak

Nicholas Elmi

Restaurant: Laurel

Location: Philadelphia

Why He's Amazing: Because, fresh off his Top Chef season 11 win, he’s not making appearances or pushing his brand; instead, he’s laser-focused on turning out excellent French-influenced American food at his cozy, 26-seat BYOB restaurant.

Background: Le Bec-Fin, Rittenhouse Tavern (Philadelphia); Union Pacific (New York City)

Quintessential Dish: Olive oil-poached albacore tuna with horseradish snow

First Dish He Ever Cooked: Pasta cacio e pepe, when he was 13. "I have five siblings, and we all cooked for our family. I took a home ec class taught by an Italian woman, and that dish was one of the first things we learned."

Mike Friedman

Photo courtesy of The Red Hen

Mike Friedman

Restaurant: The Red Hen

Location: Washington, DC

Why He's Amazing: Because he's applying his top-of-his-culinary-class know-how to simple yet soul–satisfying Italian classics, like fried brussels sprouts with dill and anchovy aioli.

Background: Proof, Zaytinya, Jaleo (Washington, DC)

Quintessential Dish: Mezze rigatoni with fennel sausage ragù

Favorite Cookbooks: In the Charcuterie, by Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller; A Girl and Her Pig, by April Bloomfield; anything by Thomas Keller; Plenty, Jerusalem and Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi; Beginnings, by Chris Cosentino. "Marcella Hazan was also a huge inspiration for me."

Katsuya Fukushima

Photo courtesy of Katsuya Fukushima

Katsuya Fukushima

Restaurant: Daikaya

Location: Washington, DC

Why He's Amazing: Because, after years of working with avant-garde superchef José Andrés, he’s utilizing traditional Japanese cooking methods to make addictive ramen and small plates at his jam-packed noodle shop and izakaya, or Japanese tavern.

Background: The Bazaar by José Andrés (Los Angeles); Minibar by José Andrés, Café Atlántico (Washington, DC)

Quintessential Dish: Chawanmushi with braised shitake mushrooms, raw enoki mushrooms and parmesan cheese

Hidden Talents: He’s an expert skeet shooter and can breakdance—his handle in high school was “Boogie.”

Dylan Fultineer

Photo © Peter Taylor

Dylan Fultineer

Restaurant: Rappahannock

Location: Richmond, VA

Why He's Amazing: Because his unfussy, Mediterranean-spirited cooking style makes the flavors of his thoughtfully sourced ingredients—most notably super-fresh East Coast oysters and fish—shine.

Background: The Hungry Cat (Santa Barbara); Blackbird (Chicago)

Quintessential Dish: Rockfish and Barcat oyster stew with garlic, fennel, potatoes and poached egg

On Simplicity: “We’re right by the Chesapeake, and we have great off-the-boat contacts, so I can bypass the purveyor. Essentially, I try to get the best product I can. I’ve never been into the whole gastronomy thing. I’m into great ingredients, and I try to keep it simple.”

Marjorie Meek-Bradley

Photo © Greg Powers

Marjorie Meek-Bradley

Restaurant: Ripple, Roofers Union

Location: Washington, DC

Why She's Amazing: Because after cooking with Thomas Keller and Marcus Samuelsson, she’s building a restaurant empire in Washington, DC, based around her exquisite, hyperseasonal dishes.

Background: Graffiato (Washington, DC); Per Se (New York City); Bouchon (Yountville, CA)

Quintessential Dish: Carrot cavatelli with lobster, morels, spring peas and nasturtium

One of Her Favorite Childhood Dishes: Her father's Top Ramen Surprise (still a late-night go-to recipe): stir-fried ramen noodles with whatever leftover meat and vegetables are on hand, an egg and the contents of the ramen-seasoning packet.

Peter Serpico

Photo © Michael Persico

Peter Serpico

Restaurant: Serpico

Location: Philadelphia

Why He's Amazing: Because while the menu at his eponymous restaurant includes nods to his days with David Chang (e.g., the pork bun–style deep–fried duck leg sandwich with hoisin and pickles), Serpico's food is wildly inventive and all his own.

Background: Momofuku Ko, Ssäm Bar, Bouley (New York City)

Quintessential Dish: Cope's corn ravioli with chorizo, white cheese, pickled and roasted onions, sour cream and lime

Sweet on Bitter: "Bitterness is one of the flavor profiles people talk about negatively. But I like bitterness when it's controlled, because it can bring something really different to a dish."

Justin Severino
People's Best New Chef Winner

Photo © Adam Milliron

Justin Severino

Restaurant: Cure

Location: Pittsburgh

Why He's Amazing: Because he closed a successful butcher shop in California to open a meat-centric restaurant in Pittsburgh where he butchers and cures everything himself and educates eaters about the provenance of their food.

Background: Elements, Eleven (Pittsburgh); Manresa (Los Gatos, CA); Bouchée Restaurant and Wine Bar (Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA)

Quintessential Dish: Salumi platter (which includes a changing selection of meats such as bresaola, blackstrap ham, goat prosciutto, rabbit rillettes and 'nduja, a spicy, spreadable pork sausage from Italy)

Early Culinary Influences: "I grew up in an Italian family. We ate dinner at home six days a week. My grandmother was a lunch lady at the Catholic high school, and my grandfather was a butcher."

Caleb Shriver & Phillip Perrow

Photo © Kendal Dennis

Caleb Shriver & Phillip Perrow

Restaurant: Dutch & Company

Location: Richmond, VA

Why They're Amazing: Because they're enlivening Richmond's food scene with unexpected ingredient combinations like spiced pork rillettes with honey-roasted nuts, pig's skin corn bread and pickled squash.

Background: Both: Aziza's (Richmond); Shriver: SugarToad (Naperville, IL), Otom (Chicago); Perrow: Acacia (Richmond)

Quintessential Dish: The Perfect Egg: a rye crumb-encrusted soft-boiled egg with cured salmon, sprouted quinoa, braised cabbage and cumin yogurt

Grill Masters: On Saturdays, the pair serves their weekly changing, house-made, All-American hot dogs (one past concoction was a French Dip hot dog with smoky beef jus) and not-so-American stroopwafels for dessert. You can also buy packages of each week's franks to grill in your own backyard.

Aaron Silverman

Photo © Elizabeth Parker

Aaron Silverman

Restaurant: Rose’s Luxury

Location: Washington, DC

Why He’s Amazing: Because locals line up every night for the 5:30 p.m. opening of his cozy restaurant—a farmhouse-hip space with a dinner-party vibe—in hopes of indulging in his out-of-the-ordinary, season-driven dishes, like popcorn soup with grilled lobster or spaghetti with strawberry-tomato sauce.

Background: McCrady’s (Charleston); Momofuku Noodle Bar, Aldea (New York City)

Quintessential Dish: Pork sausage, habanero and lychee salad

The Vibe at Rose’s Luxury: “Our food is eclectic, our music is eclectic, there are no rules. I just wanted everyone to have a good time, like having a dinner party every night: You’re having good food, good drinks, good music, good company. Our concept is about having a good time.”

Greg Vernick

Photo © Stuart Goldenberg

Greg Vernick

Restaurant: Vernick Food & Drink

Location: Philadelphia

Why He’s Amazing: Because he has talent for amplifying natural flavors in simple yet striking combinations, as in a dish that combines creamy morels with Meyer lemon glaze on sourdough toast.

Background: Per Se, Perry St., Jean-Georges, Tocqueville (New York City)

Quintessential Dish: Arctic char carpaccio with crispy skin, dill and chile oil

Born Into the Business: “My mom owned a restaurant in Haddonfield, New Jersey. The bus stopped right in front of it, and I’d go there after school. That’s where my childhood took place.”

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