Matt Jennings of La Laiterie in Providence was headed back from a sourcing trip to Vermont with his staff when they got the news that he was nominated for Best Chef: Northeast:
“So there we were, in northern New Hampshire, in a big rented van that smelled like wet farm animal, with glass bottles of maple syrup clanking around in the back and the crew singing along to “Bennie and the Jets,” when all of a sudden, we came within cell phone range and all of our phones started bleeping and blinging. Text messages arrived from other staff, friends, and family, and we logged onto Twitter to discover it was true—we had made the final cut! We were temped to pull over to the nearest bar for a quick shot, but we were still about a three-hour drive from home!”
Outstanding Restaurant Design: Darling Design, Bar Agricole, San Francisco
Outstanding Restaurant Graphics: Love and War, The National Bar & Dining Rooms, NYC
Outstanding Service Award (Presented By Stella Artois): Per Se, NYC, Chef/Owner: Thomas Keller
Outstanding Pastry Chef Award: Angela Pinkerton, Eleven Madison Park, NYC
The final awards of the night are up next, including the coveted Outstanding Chef award, so stay tuned!
“I was actually in the midst of a busy lunch service when our GM/executive chef’s assistant Amy Livingston had someone on the staff come tell me that she needed to see me right away. I came into the office, which was filled with some of the sous-chefs and dining room managers and they began clapping. She told me I was nominated! I guarantee my face was red from blushing! Later that night I did get a chance to celebrate with one of my very close friends, a bottle of Champagne, and dance floor!
–Angela Pinkerton of Eleven Madison Park, nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef
Best Chef: Northeast: Tony Maws, Craigie On Main, Cambridge, MA
Best Chef: Pacific: Michael Tusk, Quince, San Francisco
Best Chef: Northwest: Andy Ricker, Pok Pok, Portland, OR
Best Chef: South: Stephen Stryjewski, Cochon, New Orleans
Best Chef: Southeast: Andrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel Hill, NC
Best Chef: Southwest: Saipin Chutima, Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas AND Tyson Cole, Uchi, Austin, TX
Coming up, our design and graphics honors, the award for Outstanding Service, and more!
“I got the good word while I was elbow deep in ice receiving a shipment from a local fishmonger. Ice went flying everywhere when I threw my hands in air. I think I scared my new stage a bit.”
–Craig Deihl of Cypress in Charleston, S.C., on what he was doing when he found out he was nominated for Best Chef: Southeast.
Rising Star Chef of the Year Award: Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon, Portland, OR
Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional Award (Presented by Southern Wine & Spirits of New York): Julian P. Van Winkle, III, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, Louisville, KY
Outstanding Wine Service Award: The Modern, NYC, Wine Director: Belinda Chang
Best Chef: Great Lakes: Alex Young, Zingerman's Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic: Michael Solomonov, Zahav, Philadelphia
Best Chef: Midwest: Isaac Becker, 112 Eatery, Minneapolis
Best Chef: New York City: Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune
Next up, the Regional Best Chef Awards continue with Northeast, Pacific, Northwest, and more…
"I was taking the Metra train to the city and one of my new partners, Kevin Boehm of Boka Group, sent me a text message. I couldn't celebrate then because the day had just begun, but I did open a bottle of Sea Smoke with my wife, Jennifer, that night!"
–Paul Virant of Vie, nominated for Best Chef: Great Lakes, on where he was when he found out he was nominated.
Belinda Chang, wine director at Wine Service Nominee The Modern, was in the presence of greatness when she found out her restaurant made the semifinals, and again when the news broke of their nomination:
“I was in Alsace at the legendary, historic Trimbach winery in February when the semifinalists were announced. I was with Jean Trimbach and his niece and we were opening up older and older Rieslings. My phone started buzzing and buzzing. I thought someone must have died or something. Then, on the day of the nominees announcement I was at Gramercy Tavern with winemaker Brian Talley and a room full of 25 sommeliers and journalists. Again, my phone started buzzing. I jumped up and screamed, and somehow managed not to spill wine all over myself! Tonight, I think I need to have a really fantastic winemaker sitting next to me. They seem to be good luck!”
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