Food & Wine's The People's Best New Chef 2011: Great Lakes
February 15th, 2011
02:30 AM ET
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If there's one thing our friends at Food & Wine do even better than throwing fabulous festivals all around the country, developing stellar recipes and generally making our lives more appetizing - it's identifying up and coming talent from around the country.

Since 1988, the editors of Food & Wine have feasted their way from coast to coast, seeking out 10 innovative chefs, each with a distinctive vision, creating exceptionally delicious food. They've bestowed upon these shining stars the title of Best New Chef. This year, the dining public has a say.

In each of the ten designated regions of the country, you - yes, YOU - may vote for the chef whose restaurant has most significantly stirred your soul and your palate. The winner of the The People's Best New Chef 2011 will be the subject of a profile in the July issue of Food & Wine and will no doubt hold you in tremendous gratitude and esteem until the end of time.

We and the editors of Food & Wine would greatly prefer that you only vote for chefs whose restaurants you've actually visited, so the "chef" part of The People's Best New Chef 2011 really holds true. See more details at and let the clicking commence!

Midwest | Pacific | Southwest | Northwest | New England
Southeast | New York Area | Great Lakes | Mid-Atlantic | Gulf Coast

Anthony Martin
Anthony Robert LaPenna

Anthony Martin
Tru - Chicago, IL

Cooking philosophy: “Classical technique applied to recognizable ingredients in simple and appealing presentations.”

Chris Pandel
Neil Burger

Chris Pandel
The Bristol - Chicago, IL

Why he’s amazing: Because he prepares quirky and exceptional comfort food, like goat sausage “corn dogs” with piccalilli relish.

Brian Huston

Brian Huston
The Publican - Chicago, IL

Favorite ingredient: Espelette pepper from Spain. It has a sweetness to it and a quick heat that doesn't linger. It's the secret spice of the Publican.

Ryan Poli
Jeff Kauck

Ryan Poli
Perennial - Chicago, IL

Favorite gadget: “The MY Cook blender from Spain. It has an induction base, so you can adjust the heat to whatever temperature you want and cook the product inside. We use it in pastries for all of our creams and custards to save time.”

Stephanie Izard
Linda Bergonia

Stephanie Izard
The Girl & The Goat - Chicago, IL

How she won Top Chef Season 4: “I tried not to worry about all the drama and concentrated on the flavors, and on just being myself.”

Josh Adams
Jeffrey Noble

Josh Adams
June - Peoria Heights, IL

Most pleasant surprise about Peoria Heights: “I would have thought tasting menus would be an epic failure, but people here have really embraced them.”

Ivy Denman
Scott Denman

Ivy Denman
Euphoria - Indianapolis, IN

Why she’s amazing: Because she’s gently steering Indianapolis diners away from straightforward steak and potatoes and toward dishes like duck breast with sweet potatoes and poblano-creamed lentils.

Joseph George
Speckman Photography

Joseph George
Aerie Restaurant & Lounge - Acme, MI

On working at The French Laundry: “I wasn’t blown away by the cooking style…it was the discipline in the kitchen. That’s how the great ones operate. I want that influence on the kitchen here.”

Jose Salazar
Don Ventre

Jose Salazar
The Palace - Cincinnati, OH

Must-try dish: French onion soup, consisting of cipollini onions stuffed with caramelized Vidalias and topped with Gruyère crisps.

Michael Bulkowski
Leslie Hunsberger

Michael Bulkowski
Revolver - Findlay, OH

On the playlist: Each week, the restaurant’s music comes exclusively from a different featured artist. Past ones include Gillian Welch, David Bowie and Nina Simone.

Midwest | Pacific | Southwest | Northwest | New England
Southeast | New York Area | Great Lakes | Mid-Atlantic | Gulf Coast

Voting starts on 2/15/11 and ends 3/1/11 at One vote per computer per region. Votes from any automated means or intended to disrupt the voting process (in American Express Publishing Corporation’s sole discretion) will be void. Chefs with the highest eligible votes per region will become finalists (10 total). The People's Best New Chef title will be determined based on highest number of eligible votes received during the voting period. All votes subject to verification.

© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: Best New Chef 2011 • Content Partner • Food and Wine

soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. LINDA

    CHEF JOSE SALAVAR BY FAR!! This isn't rocket science, it's a public poll....Vote if you can and want to and good luck to AL the candidates,,,Please stop all the griping and name calling, this isn't elementary school. Work on getting votes for y our candidate if you feel they deserve it. Someone has to win, and someone has to lose!!!!

    March 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm |

    March 2, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  3. WalkerGirl

    My husband and I have celebrated our anniversary at Revolver since Michael and his wife opened it just a few years ago. From our first glass of wine, the amuse bouche, appetizers/salads, entrees to the desserts we share with our coffee, we are delightfully treated to a sublime dining experience. We appreciate that he supports local purveyors of beef and poultry and uses produce that is in season. His staff is extremely knowledgeable re wine pairing, so we allow them to recommend our wines. Truly, a unique dining establishment with an incredibly talented chef in Michael Bulkowski.

    March 2, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  4. Food Fanatic

    I have eaten at fine establishments all around the country, and I have to say that Jose Salazar is one of the most amazing chef's i have ever experienced. No matter who wins everyone else is gonna say they "cheated". When a city rises behind it's most amazing chef everyone is gonna get jealous.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  5. City Dame

    Just a question here – would it be cheating if your guy was winning? Jose Salazar is chef of a 4 star restaurant. No job for a slouch. He is amazing – and Cincinnati loves him. The hometown has turned out to back him – as he deserves.

    March 1, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  6. Sam Davis

    I can't believe how bad Jose has cheated the voting system, it is truly a shame. I hope he does not receive and recognition for this. He cheated so clearly too.

    March 1, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • Joseph

      NONSENSE!! Do you even know what's going on. An entire city has risen behind him as well as a company. How about a massive email campaign. How about the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. HOw about that he worked for Thomas Keller. How about the fact that he works at a hotel with tons of guests that wake-up to his breakfast and room service. How about that everyone whose dined there got a last minute email over the weekend, including me, to cast thier vote. But, most importantly, why don't you go eat there. If you're from out of town, try it out. You don't what you're missing. Joe. As a Sous Chef, I know good chefs. He's good. Sorry you think he's gaming. I think the true shame is the fact that everyone wants a bigger town's chef to win. The moment it's a more humble location everybody calls it cheating. Sounds like sour grapes to me.

      March 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  7. Cheaters Suck

    So Stephanie pulls ahead and now mysteriously Jose's script has been set off to run again. But this one is a little slower. I really feel bad for the people that got legit votes. It really makes the people with 1 percent of the votes look even worse. I even heard that Jose doesnt even use his own recipes. I call farce on this on.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Meaghen13

      Where do you suppose he got the one noted under his picture? The soup sounds excellent.

      March 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Jamie

      Who is this that writes such nonsense? As a devoted citizen of the great city of Cincinnati I voted for Chef Salazar because he is indeed, excellent. He deserves my vote and so does the entire Palace staff. They are exactly what one visiting a 4 star restruant would expect. Charming and considerate of oll I want.

      March 2, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  8. Ray

    Now Izard's % is going up by .01% every minute and Salazar's down .01% every minute. Odviously, something weird was happening and then was reversed to benefit the most odvious "celebrity" on the list. Whomever Jose Salazar had minipulate this was good at cpu's but had no common could have hide it better. This competition is BS! EFFFING CHEATERS FOR SURE. Overrated pieces o' crap.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  9. Becky

    I like Ivy. I love Ivy and I will always love Ivy's food better than any despite the fact that she doesn't have the marketing appartus of Bulhowski and Izard and the rest. Nevertheless, these are all great chefs.

    February 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  10. Poll isn't legit

    Food & Wine states that: "All votes subject to verification." I see some people are buying into this nonsense. Food & Wine uses the free version of Polldaddy's software and simply does not have access to the data required to perform an audit. These polls are primarily a stomping ground for bored teenagers with too much free time on their hands. The winner is usually the first one to cheat. I'm sure all of these chefs are very talented, but don't take this poll seriously.

    February 28, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Becky

      I agree. All the chefs are great. Some numbers only in the beginning after thier inital mass campaign and then never budged. However, it's just a silly fun poll either way you look at it.

      February 28, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  11. Facts

    The fact is that until I raised awareness about the cheating with both food & wine and posting comments on here he was gaining votes at .01% every 1 minute. That happened for a few days, that is the most consistent voting in the history of mankind. That would be like getting struck by lightning twice. The script kiddies stopped their cheating at around the same time, which is quite odd.....

    February 28, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Poll is mostly legit and predictable!

      Facts? The facts are there was a massive email campaign to get out the vote seconded by the local news and media over the weekend. Check out the hotel's blog and you'll see. Thousands of Cincinnatians got the email and probably many voted from both their smart phone and laptop or desktop. That happened with every chef. Bulkowski launched campaign early and then didn't receive hardly any votes for a whole week. Hmmm. I don't choose to be suspicious. I just accept that as a irrefutable fact of a stop and go get out the vote campaign. Izard was stable until she surged at the end with a massive campaign of her own. She is a master of marketing as well she should be since she has all the influence behind her. What's amazing is that any of the other Chefs could hold a candle to those two. Food – they're all excellent; but marketing-wise Izzard was always going to be the winner and everybody knows it.

      March 1, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  12. Hello??

    See I'm not even smart enough to refresh the page to see that my post has already been added. Lol.

    February 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
  13. Hello??

    THis award is for "Best New Chef", not best friend of the year, best man of the year, or the Nobel Peace Prize. Jose continues to inspire people with his incredible creations. I can't speak for other chef's vote, but for Jose, he does not have the mindset to cheat or to electronically sabatoge a competition. Electronically savvy?? He's not even on Facebook. Did you ever think that maybe Jose's people were slow to even know he was in a competition for this reason? He's not far behind Izzard who is promoting herself on FB and has had national television exposure. Hello?? Instead of assuming he's cheating, maybe you should consider that he is just a great chef. Trust me Team Jose is not smart enough to hack into the system/competition like you're declaring.

    February 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  14. More Facts

    This award if is for "Best New Chef", not best friend of the year, best man of the year, nor the Nobel peace prize. His food is amazing and he continues to inspire people with his talent and incredible food. Jose does not have the mindset to cheat or electronically sabatoge a competition. Electronically savvy? He's not even on Facebook and doesn't know the first thing about using social networking to further himself in this competition. As for being a great chef, that he is. I can't speak for other chef's votes, but did you ever think many of Jose's people were slow to even realize he was in a competition???? Since he's not on FB, I would guess that's explanation enough for the slow response. He's not far behind Izzard, who's promoting herself on FB and has had national television exposure. Hello!?! Maybe instead of assuming he's cheating, you should consider that maybe he's just that good of a chef!

    February 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • John Hoard

      I second this comment!!!

      February 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  15. Also Concerned

    Someone needs to get to the bottom of what's going on with Jose's numbers! Something is not quite right!!

    February 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
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