Melissa Chou, Juan Contreras, Other Bay Area Chefs Nominated for Food & Wine Pastry Chef Prize

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Food & Wine just launched their first ever poll for the "The People's Best New Pastry Chef," with 50 nominees from three regions in the country (East, Central, and West), and the Bay Area has a fine showing in our region with twelve of the sixteen total nominations in the West. The winner, voted on via online poll, will get a supplemental spot in the magazine's Best New Pastry Chefs issue which hits stands in May. You may recall they did something similar last year with their annual Best New Chefs issue, and this is the first time they've decided to give some equal love to the dessert world. Below, the full list of local nominees.

And, much like Dana Cowin explained to us about last year's savory-chef poll, this nomination list is a jumping off point for the editors as well, essentially a short-list of people they're considering for the bigger prize, which will be editor's-choice inclusion in the Best New Pastry Chefs list. (Joshua Skenes of Saison was one of the People's Choice nominees last year, and went on to be one of the editor's picks.)

Voting for the People's Best New (Savory) Chef will begin on March 5.

See also our picks for the best new San Francisco desserts here and here.

People's Best New Pastry Chef - Bay Area Nominees

Francis Ang - Fifth Floor

Christopher Bleidorn - Benu

Kyle Caporicci - Commis (Oakland)

John Paul Carmona - Manresa (Los Gatos)

Melissa Chou - Aziza

Juan Contreras - Atelier Crenn

Maya Erickson - AQ

Yuko Fujii - Bushi-Tei

Rikki Garcia - Campton Place

Kam Golightly - Redd (Yountville)

Devin McDavid - Quince

Ana Paliza-Brown - Txoko

Vote for your favorite here, before February 14. The overall winner from the three regions will be chosen by whoever gets the most votes, and will be featured in the magazine's May issue.

The People's Best New Pastry Chef - West
[Food & Wine]