Backstage celebrating with the Award winners *right* when they get off the stage at the the Mercedes-Benz Victory Lane. Exciting vibe in here. First up to win was Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon, winner of the Rising Star Chef of the Year Award. Award presenter Marcus Samuelsson told us this is the hardest category to win, as you're up against the whole country. Funny story: Gabriel nervously packed two left black shoes, and had to wear these purple sneakers with his black tie gear. Adorable!
Colby Garrelts, 2011 nominee for Best Chef: Midwest, and his wife, pastry chef Megan, arrived at Lincoln Center with a stack of postcards for their new cookbook, out in November. The book will read like a menu at their Kansas City restaurant, Bluestem, and pay tribute to seasonality--midwest-style. "Although the seasons are shorter," said Megan, "there's a lot going on in the midwest." The two met while cooking at Tru in Chicago and have been catching up with friends who also worked the line there. Case in point: dinner at Alex Stupak's new West Village spot, Empellon.
Wine and spirits award being handed out. Unfortunately no wine or spirits being handed out.
Nominee Tom Douglas and his wife prepared for the evening with a strenuous day of sandwich eating around town. The morning started with an egg sandwich near their hotel followed by what they're sure was the entire menu at Prune. Just a hop across Houston provided a bagel with lox at Russ & Daughters (a favorite amongst the chefs walking the carpet). Next came a pastrami sandwich down the way at Katz's. Enough? Not quite. Last stop, a porchetta sandwich at Sara Jenkins's Porchetta with crispy potatoes, the memory of which brought a big ol' grin to Douglas's face. Fortifying.