Rising Talent Found in New York, San Francisco, Seattle & New Orleans
New York, NY (April 4, 2007) - Food & Wine Editor in Chief Dana Cowin today revealed the names of the ten up-and-coming talents who have earned the coveted title of Food & Wine Best New Chefs. The winners will be in Manhattan this evening to celebrate at a party at 7 World Trade Center. In addition, they will be featured in Food & Wine's annual July chef issue, available on newsstands June 19.
"This year’s winners reflect the trend of talented chefs turning out utterly thrilling food at modest, low-key restaurants," says Cowin. "Their obsession with ingredients transforms everything they make—even when it’s a humble hamburger."
2007 F&W Best New Chefs
- April Bloomfield The Spotted Pig, New York, NY
- Gabriel Bremer Salts, Cambridge, MA
- Steve Corry Five Fifty-Five, Portland, ME
- Matthew Dillon Sitka & Spruce, Seattle, WA
- Gavin Kaysen El Bizcocho, San Diego, CA
- Johnny Monis Komi, Washington, DC
- Sean O'Brien Myth, San Francisco, CA
- Gabriel Rucker Le Pigeon, Portland, OR
- Ian Schnoebelen Iris, New Orleans, LA
- Paul Virant Vie, Western Springs, IL
Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs 2007 Biographies
April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig (New York, NY)
April Bloomfield, 32, is the executive chef and co-owner of The Spotted Pig, a gastropub specializing in seasonal British and Italian food using the best local ingredients. A native of England, Bloomfield began her career at London’s Kensington Place, then moved on to the city’s Bibendum and River Cafe (where Jamie Oliver got his start), before landing a spot at Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. She opened The Spotted Pig with Ken Friedman in 2004.
- This restaurant does not take reservations
Gabriel Bremer, Salts (Cambridge, MA)
Trained as a classical percussionist, Gabriel Bremer, 29, began his cooking career under Portland, Maine, chef Sam Hayward as a way to support himself. After a brief stint as a restaurant owner in Portland, he became a sous chef in 2000 at Rialto in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bremer opened Salts with his fiancée, Analia, in 2004 where he prepares modern comfort food. "Think of your grandmother’s kitchen, but with a few immersion circulators," he says.
Steve Corry, Five Fifty-Five (Portland, ME)
After working as a brewmaster at several California places, Corry, 37, decided to attend the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. He returned to California after graduation and took a job at Domaine Chandon in Napa. Corry and his wife, Michelle, opened Five Fifty-Five in Portland, Maine, in July 2003 featuring contemporary New England cuisine with as many local Maine ingredients as possible.
Matthew Dillon, Sitka & Spruce (Seattle, WA)
Matt Dillon, 33, is the chef-owner of Sitka & Spruce, a 20-seat restaurant that offers a home-style seasonal menu focused on local, organic ingredients. Before opening Sitka & Spruce in early 2006, Dillon worked at the Stumbling Goat Bistro in Seattle and The Herbfarm in Woodinville, Washington. His resume includes a stint as a professional forager.
- Make a reservation (for parties of five or more only): 206/324-0662
Gavin Kaysen, El Bizcocho (San Diego, CA)
After graduating from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, Gavin Kaysen, 27, traveled to Switzerland to work under chef Jacky Vuillet at Auberge de Lavaux and then to London to work at the Michelin-starred L'Escargot with Marco Pierre White. In 2002, he returned to the United States and began working at El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn and within two years was named chef de cuisine. Kaysen’s menu is French-inspired and fanatically seasonal.
Johnny Monis, Komi (Washington, DC)
Growing up in Alexandria, Virginia, Johnny Monis, 27, spent his summers in Greece, his family’s homeland, and collected eggs and vegetables from his grandparents' farm. After three years at James Madison University, Monis abandoned the pre-med track and headed to culinary school at Johnson & Wales in Charleston, SC. The chef left Johnson & Wales before graduation in order to work full-time under chef Michael Kramer at Charleston’s renowned McCrady’s Restaurant. In 2003, he opened the 38-seat Komi, named for his favorite beach on the Aegean island of Chios.
Sean O'Brien, Myth (San Francisco, CA)
Sean O'Brien, 38, is executive chef and partner of Myth, which he launched in October of 2004. Myth is known for its well-conceived menu, solid wine list and elegant yet warm ambiance. O'Brien helped open San Francisco’s Restaurant Gary Danko in 1999. He also worked with Danko and later Sylvain Portay at The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, chef Suzzette Gresham at San Francisco’s Acquerello and George Morrone at Fifth Floor.
Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon (Portland, OR)
After working at Portland’s Paley’s Place and Gotham Bldg Tavern, Gabriel Rucker, 26, opened his own place, Le Pigeon, in 2006 . Rucker’s inventive menu focuses on the best local, organic ingredients. The young chef’s affection for pigeons is clear not just from the name of his restaurant but from a tattoo of the bird on his right forearm.
- Make a reservation: 503/546-8796
Ian Schnoebelen, Iris (New Orleans, LA)
Former Lilette sous chef Ian Schnoebelen, 36, opened Iris in January of 2006. Schnoebelen had been a sous chef at John Harris' Lilette until Hurricane Katrina. Prior to that, he was a sous chef at Commander’s Palace in Las Vegas. Iris boasts an ever-changing, difficult-to-classify French- and Italian-influenced menu that emphasizes seafood without excluding meat dishes such as steak and chorizo.
- Make a reservation: 504/862-5848
Paul Virant, Vie (Western Springs, IL)
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Virant, 37, moved to New York City to work under chef Wayne Nish at March restaurant. After opening a bistro and wine bar in Honolulu, he returned to his home state of Illinois, where he joined the kitchens of Everest, Ambria, Charlie Trotters and Blackbird (under Paul Kahan). Now, as owner and executive chef of Vie, he creates menus centered on seasonal contemporary American cuisine with Western European influences. In addition, he supports local area farms and his signature techniques include pickling, preserving, wood grilling and bread baking.
As America’s premier talent-seeking epicurean magazine, Food & Wine has been spotting rising stars since 1988, awarding the Best New Chef title to such luminaries-in-the making as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Todd English and Nobu Matsuhisa. Every year Food & Wine works with a nominating committee of experts around the country to help identify the most promising talents. Then the editors hit the road to eat incognito at the restaurants.
Past F&W Best New Chefs Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, David Chang of Momofoku and Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, and Christopher Lee of Gilt will prepare signature dishes at the April 4th event. Also cooking will be Harold Dieterle and Ilan Hall, winners of Bravo’s Top Chef Seasons 1 & 2. Sponsors of the evening include Beringer, Chrysler, and Riedel. Hershey’s Cacao, FIJI Water and Starbucks will also support this special celebration.
In addition to a feature in the July issue, the ten F&W Best New Chefs will travel to Colorado to prepare an exclusive tasting dinner at the 25th annual Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen, June 15-17, 2007.