The People's Best New Chef: New England Contenders

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.

PBNC Logo 2015

At F&W, we name America's 10 most brilliant up-and-coming chefs every year. In 2015, we wanted to know who you thought was 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

New England Chefs:

  • Alex Crabb
  • Christopher Gould
  • Chad Hoffer & Tyler Burnley
  • Carolyn Johnson
  • Matt Louis
  • Matthew MacCartney (winner)
  • Tim Maslow
  • Michael Pagliarini
  • Cassie Piuma
  • Damian Sansonetti

© Tatsu Ikeda

Alex Crabb

Restaurant: Asta

Location: Boston

Why He's Amazing: Because at Asta, guests choose their own mismatched vintage silverware, then devour inventive dishes — scallops with beets, farro and pickled blueberries, say — from Crabb's frequently changing tasting menus.

Background: L'Espalier (Boston)

Quintessential Dish: Seared foie gras with sweet potato, cilantro, coffee and malt oil

On the Restaurant's Name: "It comes from two places: It's the name of the dog from The Thin Man movie series. It also evolved into an acronym with my partner, Shish: Alex & Shish's Taste Adventure."


© Meredith Perdue

Christopher Gould

Restaurant: Central Provisions

Location: Portland, Maine

Why He's Amazing: Because his ever-evolving list of small plates never ceases to excite and delight diners, and his crudos alone (picture lime-accented, paper-thin fluke with spicy piri-piri sauce) are making his small coastal city an exciting food destination.

Background: Uni, Coppa, Clio (Boston)

Quintessential Dish: Hay-smoked carrots with goat cheese and pistachio vinaigrette

Extracurricular Activity: Carpentry. "I do a lot of building on the side, whenever I have a day off. I'm still working on building my house."


© Maaike Bernstrom

Chad Hoffer & Tyler Burnley

Restaurant: Thames Street Kitchen, Mission

Location: Newport, Rhode Island

Why They're Amazing: Because, after becoming friends cooking in New York City, they married twin sisters, moved to their wives' hometown and opened two instantly booming restaurants: TSK (Thames Street Kitchen), a rustic-modern neighborhood BYOB with a tiny menu inspired by local ingredients; and Mission, a deluxe burger-and-hot-dog spot.

Background: Hoffer: Dovetail, Gordon Ramsay at The London (New York City); Burnley: Clarke Cooke House (Newport, RI), BLT Prime (New York City)

Quintessential Dish: Beef carpaccio with celeriac three ways: salt-roasted, in a celery root soup and in a crumble

Hunter Instincts: Both chefs are avid spearfishers.


© Tim Llewellyn

Carolyn Johnson

Restaurant: 80 Thoreau

Location: Concord, MA

Why She's Amazing: Because her French-inspired, farm-driven cooking is simple yet extraordinarily delicious.

Background: Icarus (Boston); Arrows Restaurant (Ogunquit, ME); Rialto (Cambridge, MA)

Quintessential Dish: Saffron tagliatelle with braised local rabbit, peppers and sweet-and-sour sultanas

What She Does When She Isn't Cooking: Travels, hikes, brews beer

Photo Courtesy of Moxy.

Matt Louis

Restaurant: Moxy

Location: Portsmouth, NH

Why He's Amazing: Because he makes incredible Spanish-style tapas using seasonal New England ingredients.

Background: Bouchon, the French Laundry (Yountville, CA); Per Se (New York City)

Quintessential Dish: Johnny Cake Community: cornmeal pancakes, brown-sugared pork shoulder, crispy onion, pickled cucumbers

What Drives the Food at Moxy: "One: the history and culture of our area; two: our own twists on iconic tapas dishes; three: what the local farmers are growing. Everything fits into at least one of these categories, if not more than one."


Matthew MacCartney

Restaurant: Jamestown Fish

Location: Jamestown, Rhode Island

Why He's Amazing: Because his fish-centric dishes take cues from classic French, Italian and American-immigrant cooking but they taste innovative and modern.

Background: Craft, Gramercy Tavern, Daniel (New York City)

Quintessential Dish: Jamestown Fish Cookpot: lobster, clams, mussels, scallops, monkfish, leeks, tomatoes, saffron, garlic, hot pepper, Pernod, potatoes and chouriço

His Sommelier Side: MacCartney spent 10 years in the wine business, working on the beverage programs at Gramercy Tavern and Craft. "I'm always thinking about wines that will go with [my food]." MacCartney's vast list at Jamestown Fish includes bottles from the US and Western Europe, as well as countries like Lebanon and Hungary.


© Rex Dean

Tim Maslow

Restaurant: Strip-T's, Ribelle

Location: Watertown, Massachusetts; Brookline, Massachusetts

Why He's Amazing: Because he's turned his family's sandwich shop into a destination for quirky, umami–packed comfort food — and then followed it up with unconventional, outstanding Italian cuisine with David Changian inflections at his new outpost.

Background: Brick Hotel (Newtown, PA); Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar (New York City)

Quintessential Dish: Chicken wings with Moxie sauce at Strip-T's

What's Moxie?: A bittersweet New England soda; Maslow also adds the Indonesian chile paste sambal oelek to his chicken-wing sauce.


© Katie Chudy

Michael Pagliarini

Restaurant: Giulia

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Why He's Amazing: Because while so many chefs today strive to be cutting-edge, he's happily defying the trend, turning out delicious classic Italian dishes like bucatini all'amatriciana — a pasta that he hand-makes from heirloom, custom-milled grains, then tosses with bits of house-cured pork.

Background: Via Matta, Radius (Boston); Trio (Evanston, Illinois)

Quintessential Dish: Emmer farro casarecce pasta with braised duck, matsutake mushrooms, heirloom squash and kale

His Second Love, After Cooking: Playing the piano


© Alexandra Roberts Photography

Cassie Piuma

Restaurant: Sarma

Location: Somerville, Massachusetts

Why She's Amazing: Because, after cooking for a dozen years with Ana Sortun at the Eastern Mediterranean-inspired Oleana, she's partnering with Sortun again, channeling her passion for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food and spice into crave-worthy meze — think sesame-and-nigella fried chicken with tahini remoulade — but this time, as executive chef and co-owner.

Background: Oleana (Cambridge, Massachusetts); Sel de la Terre (Boston); Al Forno (Providence)

Quintessential Dish: Lamb köfte sliders with tomato, caramelized butter, yogurt and house-made pickles on pita buns

How She Clears Her Head: "On my days off, I love to walk through Boston. It clears my mind, keeps me connected to nature and allows me to see people enjoying the good things in life. It's important to remember there is a world outside of the kitchen."


© Greta Rybus

Damian Sansonetti

Restaurant: Piccolo

Location: Portland, Maine

Why He's Amazing: Because his sublime, rustic-modern Italian dishes — inspired by Calabria and Abruzzo — seem informed both by his skills honed at Daniel Boulud's New York City restaurants and the warmth and intuition of someone cooking old family recipes.

Background: Bar Boulud, Daniel, DB Bistro (New York City)

Quintessential Dish: Cavatelli with lamb neck ragù, eggplant, orange and pecorino

What Makes That Ragù So Good: "It takes three days to make the sauce: You have to marinate it, you have to grind it, you have to cook it. We brine the lamb necks and roast them with all kinds of goodness: anchovies, Calabrian chiles, oregano, fennel, carrots, red onions, garlic, stewed tomatoes and red wine. And then you don't want to serve it right away. You want to let it rest for at least one day."

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