It's once again time for voting in Food & Wine's annual People's Best New Chef contest. The California nominees are once again stacked in favor of NorCal, and as we've seen in past years, one or more of these chefs may already be in consideration for one of the magazine's coveted ten editorial picks for Best New Chef. They are Matt Accarrino (SPQR), Kim Alter (Haven), Jacob Burton (Stella in Truckee), Justin Cogley (Aubergine in Carmel), Thomas McNaughton (Flour + Water, Central Kitchen), and Evan and Sarah Rich (Rich Table).
From L.A., there is also Michael Voltaggio (ink), Kris Yenbamroong (Night+Market), Ari Taymor (Alma), and Jordan Kahn (Red Medicine).
This is a second time being nominated for McNaughton and Voltaggio.
Notably absent from this list are Nick Balla of Bar Tartine and Belinda Leong of b.patisserie, whom we wagered were in the running after they were both featured in this recent book from Food & Wine, America's Greatest New Chefs. Also, Danny Bowien was nominated for the People's prize last year, and has not yet been a magazine pick, despite having a really huge year, career-wise. They, along with the others mentioned above, are all eligible to be editorial picks for Best New Chef as well.
Voting starts today and continues for just one week, until March 18. As in the past, chefs with loyal Twitter followings (and TV fame, like Voltaggio), have an advantage. A total of 100 chefs are nominated, and the chef with the most overall votes will be featured in the July issue, along with the editorial picks. The People's prize winner will be announced March 19, and the editorial picks should be out the first week of April.
Over the past three years, at least one young, prominent Bay Area chef has been among the ten, with James Syhabout, Joshua Skenes, and Corey Lee all getting nods. The award brings with it a lot of national recognition, and tends to attract investors too.