More than two dozen chefs and restaurants received top honors during the James Beard Foundation's annual awards ceremony, which took place earlier this week. We've been following the journeys of many of these chefs from the start, including Cronut king Dominique Ansel, rising chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. (of Chicago's Purple Pig), and Southwestern honoree Chris Shepherd (of Houston's Underbelly). Read on for insight into the winning toques' favorite places to eat, the best spots in their hometowns, and more.
Rising Star Chef of the Year: Jimmy Bannos, Jr.
"For me, there's nothing more satisfying than a properly done, well-executed plate of pasta." (Chicago Chef Jimmy Bannos, Jr.: The Best Thing I Ate This Week)
Oustanding Bar Program: The Bar at the NoMad Hotel
"New York's food scene is truly unique because it is this wonderful melting pot where immigrants from all over the world have brought with them their cuisines and their ingredients." (New York City Chef Secrets: Where The NoMad's Daniel Humm Eats in NYC)
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Dominique Ansel
"When you work in a kitchen every day, you often think vacation is a time to get out and stop thinking about food already. That's what I always say to myself. I don't do any research, any planning, or make any reservations. And then I get hungry, and experience that first random meal. It's, more often than not, utterly unspectacular. And that's when I realize that good food absolutely makes a better vacation." (Cronut Creator Dominique Ansel: Six Things I'd Rather Eat Instead of the Cronut)
Best Chef, Northeast: Jamie Bissonnette
"I think I eat at John Dory more than almost any other restaurant in New York City. I love to sit at the bar and order a dozen oysters and the Carta di Musica." (NYC Chef Jamie Bissonnette: The Best Thing I Ate This Week)
Best Chef, Southwest: Chris Shepherd
"Houston is a beautiful city to be in right now with all the upscale dining and this ethnic explosion, especially of Vietnamese, Chinese and Hispanic cuisines, in the past 20 years." (The Best Ethnic Eats in Houston: We Asked a Chef)
Oustanding Restaurateur: Barbara Lynch
"There's another company I'm starting, a nutritional line of food products, where everything's dehydrated. It's one of the best ways to cure food versus canned or frozen, because the nutrients don't change. I have a lot of dehydrators in the kitchen, and I love to play around with them." (What's For Dinner At…Menton in Boston)
Outstanding Service: The Restaurant at Meadowood (executive chef Christopher Kostow)
"Napa Valley is so fortunate in that we have a great abundance of local artisans, purveyors, and wilds to work with. St. Helena also has an incredibly close-knit sense of community one may be surprised to find in a tourist destination city." (Napa Valley Chef Secrets: Where Michelin Starred Chef Christopher Kostow Says You Should Eat)
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