Food & Wine
July 01, 2008

One of the most exciting aspects of F&W’s mission is identifying the country’s talented up-and-coming chefs. In this issue, we introduce our 20th class of Best New Chefs. They are a groundbreaking bunch: There’s the first BNC over 50 years old; the first at a vegetarian restaurant; and the first in St. Louis. I hope you’ll try their recipes—these are impressively simple dishes. To get started, I recommend the Greek scallop sandwiches or the smoky pork pappardelle.

Many of our BNCs, over time, become known for a signature dish. For our Chef Recipes Made Easy column, F&W’s amazing Test Kitchen adapted 10 famous recipes from 10 of the country’s most revered chefs, all past BNCs. I never thought I’d be able to make anything like Daniel Boulud’s chilled five-pea soup, but our simplified version gives me hope. For our Fast column, F&W’s Grace Parisi created delicious recipes using methods she’s learned from 13 years of testing BNC recipes. My favorite: her chicken-and-cheese tamales.

After we honor our BNCs for their originality and raw talent, it’s exhilarating to see their careers take off. In “Hall of Fame: 50 Best New Chefs,” we detail the achievements of 50 winners, from 1988 to today. Some own multiple restaurants—Nobu Matsuhisa has 21—while others dedicate themselves to a single place; whatever their path, they’re always worth watching.

One talent we’ve watched—in more than one sense—is Tom Colicchio, a BNC 1991 who is the head judge on Bravo’s Top Chef. We were thrilled when he agreed to take us on a Los Angeles nightlife tour, including a stop at Bar Lubitsch, where he jumped behind the bar to mix cocktails. Like all our BNCs, his passion for great food and drink is unstoppable—a spirit we celebrate on every page of this issue.

Where We’re Coming From

Editors share discoveries from the Best New Chef trail:

The Meadow
Portland, Oregon

Tina Ujlaki adored the soy salt, a crispy, light condiment that’s one of 80 salts this shop carries. retail outlet

At an impromptu tasting, Tina fell for Katz’s vinegar, June Taylor’s Seville orange peels in syrup and two Italian chocolates—Slitti with coffee beans and L’Artigiano with sea salt.

Justus Drugstore
Smithville, Missouri

In a fabulous space that was once a drugstore, Kate Krader loved chef Jonathan Justus’s phenomenal mushroom soup: hot broth poured over a luscious mound of mushroom pâté.

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