James Beard Nominees for Best Chefs in America
Prosciutto Consommé with Arugula and Melon
Nominee for Best Chef: Great Lakes: Michael Carlson, an F&W Best New Chef 2006
Carlson's prosciutto consommé with melon balls is a clever riff on the classic prosciutto-and-melon combination. What makes it astonishing is the crystal-clear flavor of the delicate prosciutto broth—such a great alternative to the usual chicken or beef.
Tangy Roasted Chicken Thighs with Artichoke Panzanella
Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches with Pancetta and Remoulade
Puff Pastry Apple Pie
Nominee for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic: Cathal Armstrong, an F&W Best New Chef 2006
Armstrong tells of how a family friend came over for lunch one day and marveled at the apple pie his mother, Angela, had made. When her husband, Gerry, asserted that it must have been the apples he grew that made the pie taste so good, the friend said, "Angela, you tell him pastry like that doesn't grow on trees." Since puff pastry can be tricky to prepare, this version uses a high-quality, store-bought puff pastry.
Roasted Veal Chops with Young Garlic Vinaigrette
Pickled Eggplant and Summer Lettuce Soup
Sea Bass with Edamame-Rye Crust
Garden Pea Soup with Morel Cream
Nominee for Best Chef: New York City: Daniel Humm, an F&W Best New Chef 2005
Humm serves his wonderful sweet pea soup "cappuccino-style," with a topping of morel cream that's been frothed with an immersion blender. The recipe here simply calls for swirling the cream into the soup. Indeed, the cream is so intensely mushroomy, you may be tempted to eat it on its own.
Summer Greens and Herbs with Roasted Beets and Hazelnuts
Butter-Braised Radishes with Sorrel
Nominee for Best Chef: Northeast: Tony Maws, an F&W Best New Chef 2005
Few people think of eating warm radishes, but they are delicious—like turnips with a little bite. According to Maws, who describes himself as "more of a butter guy than an olive-oil guy," some butter also softens the edge.
Tuna Rolls with Roasted Shallot-Wasabi Sauce
Smoky Tomato Soup with Maple-Candied Bacon
Nominee for Best Chef: Northwest: Naomi Pomeroy, an F&W Best New Chef 2009
The bright flavors of tomato, orange juice and smoked paprika make this soup perfect for summer, as does its versatility: It's delicious chilled or hot. Pomeroy serves the soup with a side of maple-candied bacon, which she prepares by sprinkling bacon slices with maple sugar and baking them until crisp.
Farro Salad with Fried Cauliflower and Prosciutto
Herb-and-Spice Lamb Chops with Minted Asparagus
Nominee for Best Chef: Northwest: Jason Wilson, an F&W Best New Chef 2006
"When I lived in Singapore, I really learned how to use spices in different ways," says chef Wilson of Crush restaurant. After he marinates the lamb in an oil scented with marjoram, cumin and fennel seed, he grills the meat until slightly crusty, then serves it with asparagus drizzled with mint vinaigrette.
Pea Consommé with Mint
Nominee for Best Chef: Pacific: Jeremy Fox, an F&W Best New Chef 2008
This delicate broth is full of vitamin C, thanks to the pea pods Fox simmers. (Snow peas are just as delicious and easier to find.) He tops the consommé with shards of white chocolate because he likes the way it brings out the peas' sweetness while adding only a little fat.
Seared Tuna Puttanesca with Fennel Fritters
Seared Scallops with Pinot Gris Butter Sauce
Nominee for Best Chef: Southeast: Linton Hopkins, an F&W Best New Chef 2009
Italian carbonara is famously rich, combining pancetta or guanciale (cured pork jowl), egg yolks and cheese. At Holeman and Finch, Hopkins adds his own Southern accent to the dish with house-cured pork and local eggs.
Grouper with Corn "Pudding" and Collard Greens
Nominee for Best Chef: Southwest: Bryan Caswell, an F&W Best New Chef 2009
Caswell's method for making his version of corn pudding is brilliant in its simplicity: He grates corn on the cob, places it in a hot skillet and bakes it. As the corn cooks, it turns creamy in the middle and crusty on the edges.