Now that NCAA brackets are winding down (if, like me, you weren't smart enough to pick all the number one seeds), it's time to find something new to obsess about. So, for anyone interested in starting a betting line on this year's Best New Chefs, who will be announced Thursday night, April 3rd, here are some hints that I hope are helpful.
*Two of this year's BNCs have cooked—and might still be cooking—in an unexpected city on the west coast (okay, Salt Lake City).
*One of our BNCs claims that he/she could eat a Costco-sized 10-pound bag of M&Ms at one sitting (we plan to test him/her on that).
*If one country figures especially big in this year's BNC's experience, it's Italy.
*If one of our BNCs could open up a restaurant with anyone in the world, he/she would want to team up with deceased Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, for the artsy/intellectualized/philosophical crowd Morrison would bring in.
*The most memorable culinary experience for one of our BNCs was cooking for the band Phish.
*In fact, if three of our BNCs weren't chefs, they'd be in the music business—a drummer, a record store owner and a guitar player (one BNC was in a band called Blue Cheese).
*One of our BNCs claims to own 1,200 cookbooks and to have read almost all of them. In an effort to top that, another BNC says he/she has 3,000 cookbooks in his/her collection.
*Two of our BNCs are very, very good skiiers (one was on the Olympic slalom track).
*On average, our BNCs have 3 tattoos per chef.