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 foodandwine.com and let the clicking commence!
Midwest | Pacific | Southwest | Northwest | New England
Southeast | New York Area | Great Lakes | Mid-Atlantic | Gulf Coast
Bettola - Birmingham, AL
On getting diners to leave their comfort zones: “I am not going to sell myself out to please every single person—you just can’t. I do things simply, and I use ingredients that people like, and then I get them to try new things.”
Ham and High - Montgomery, AL
Extreme locavorism: Ham and High is located in a planned community that has individual farming plots for residences, as well as one for the restaurant.
Gigi - Miami, FL
Best perk of running his own kitchen: “I [can] play loud country music, rock or gangster rap during the middle of service if I feel the urge.”
Courtesy of Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill - Miami, FL
Why he’s amazing: Because he juxtaposes unlikely ingredients in interesting ways, such as a scallop crudo with apple, truffle and jalapeño.
Wish - Miami Beach, FL
Powerful food memory: “Every January, my family killed the pigs they raised all year to make sausages, salami, prosciutto, soppressata, pancetta and, of course, freshly cooked pork.”
Courtesy of The Ravenous Pig
The Ravenous Pig - Winter Park, FL
Must-try dish: Beer-steamed mussels with truffle fries.
Courtesy of Aaron Burgau
Patois - New Orleans, LA
Best known for: Putting ink where his mouth is: A die-hard New Orleans Saints fan, Burgau has their motto “Who Dat!” tattooed on the inside of his lip.
Courtesy of a Mano
a Mano - New Orleans, LA
Favorite cooking technique: “Not cooking at all. I like curing meat and the sorts of preservation methods that have been around forever. That is what I think is cool.”
Courtesy of Coquette
Coquette - New Orleans, LA
How he got into cooking: “I was getting ready to go to college, and two weeks before, my mom opened a bakery. She said, ‘Come work for me, make a little extra money.’ I started there doing breakfast—simple egg sandwiches, simple omelets. And I never went to college.”
Courtesy of Snackbar
Snackbar - Oxford, MS
Why he’s amazing: Because he returned to his hometown to cook French-influenced Southern food and make his own charcuterie for what he calls his “Bubba Brasserie.”
Voting starts on 2/15/11 and ends 3/1/11 at www.foodandwine.com/peoples-bnc. 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.
All these chefs food makes me blow mud.
Bettola has the best italian food in the South East!!! James Lewis you have my vote!!!
Simply......... Bettola is exquisite.... :D
Love agnello, love lombatello, love the wines, love quattro pasta, love margherita pizza, love all the food from bettola!!! Good Luck James
Bettola´s restaurant is the best, the food is spectacular, the flavors are amazing, and the service is personalized. Great job James Lewis
We had dinner at Bettola tonite and every bite was delicious. The flavors of each choice was to perfection. The bread, sausages, pastas and anti pasta selections were divine. can't wait to return!!!! Hope James wins...he deserves it.
I hope polldaddy is able to weed out the cheaters (Birmingham) at the final tally. So sad... Impossible to jump 15% in a day
Bettola is a tiny gem of a restaurant that Birmingham is lucky to have.
one word Torta Chocolata......Bettola is theplace to eat
love the pizza
Nothing compares to The Ravenous Pig – what they do to food is simply magic.
The oven at Bettola is really cool. My kids love to watch their pizzas being prepared, baked and served by Bettolas friendly staff. Good Luck Jim.
I love Bettola. Cant wait to eat at Chef Lewis' new restaurant
not only is the food at Bettola amazing Angel, the bartender mixes some tasty cocktails. Looking forward to spring for a honeysuckle martini. Best of luck Bettola.
I dream of the Bettola's Gnocchi with with fava beans and wild mushrooms.
Even the staff eats at Bettola on their nights off.
We ever we come to Birmingham we look forward to eating at Bettola. Birmingham is quickly emerging as a great restaurant city.
James Petrakis at The Ravenous Pig is my vote. It's the way eating was meant to be: beautiful to look at, delicious to taste served in stylish surroundings by friendly people. This is civilization.
Bettola is amazing. Chef Jim Lewis has created a masterpiece.
My vote for Best Chef goes to James Lewis, owner of Bettola in Birmingham, Al....
The first time I went there, I awoke the next morning still thinking about that
I have eaten in some of the best restaurants in the country and have always lamented the lack of truly innovative restaurant in this Walt Disney town (Orlando). Ever since James Petrakis opened The Ravenous Pig here, we have finally got our exceptional restaurant! It is always my first choice for dinner–if I can get a reservation. :)
If you have not eaten at the Ravenous Pig in Orlando, then you do not know what you are missing. The food is incredible, the service is awesome and the atmosphere is wonderful.
Does anyone else find it odd that the chef from Bettola jumped more than 15% in the past few days to 1st place out of nowhere? Seems unlikely in such a short period of time and at the end of the voting period at that. Oh well. Here's to one final day of voting!
he jumped up 15% because of a massive email launch throughout Birmingham to get everyone to vote for him....and it worked!! Go James!!
Shennanigans! There's no way people were voting from midnight Monday to 7am tuesday. They jumped 2% overnight. Absolute shenanigans.
Last day to vote for Vish! Does anyone else find it odd that the chef from Bettola jumped more than 15% in the past few days to 1st place out of nowhere? Seems unlikely in such a short period of time and at the end of the voting period at that. Oh well. Here's to one final day of voting!
James Petrakis and the Ravenous Pig – Innovative, inspiring, elegant yet simple. A culinary tour de force!!!
Avon's got your back James Petrakis!
The Ravenous Pig has convinced us that Central Florida really does have an emerging food scene- one that is worth sticking around for. Nothing else in Orlando compares to what Petrakis is doing here.
James is the best chef i've ever had the pleasure of meeting, and his food is only better
James is the best chef i have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and his cuisine is only better
I took my wife to Bettola for her birthday and i could not have asked for a better time. The only thing better then the food was the service.
Great job Chef James Lewis! Amazing neapolitan pizzas you have brought a piece of Italy to Birmingham!
The Ravenous Pig is an incredibly exciting dining experience. I was fortunate enough to attend a beer dinner and it was an awesome community event where I got to meet the brewers from Gainesville Florida's Swamphead Brewery and talk to the chef about the dishes. Fantastic grub every time!
The Ravenous Pig brings Big Apple sophistication to Florida fare. Always the freshest gulf seafood, accoutrements and precise service. The Mahi sandwich to die for!
Michael's food presentation is uniquely stunning & a royal treat to the taste buds!! The scallops are awesome!
James Lewis at Bettola has taken dishes as common as pizza and created amazing dishes you just MUST have again! G
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