Food & Wine's The People's Best New Chef: Northwest
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 foodandwine.com and let the clicking commence!

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

Justin Wills
Courtesy of Restaurant Beck

Justin Wills
Restaurant Beck (at Whale Cove Inn) - Depoe Bay, OR

On creating tasting menus: “[Diners] get a whole meal of things that are not on the menu, created à la minute, or on a whim, just for them. From a kitchen or chef’s perspective, it’s fun. It’s always good to really think on your feet, and when you’re busy, creating a tasting menu is a mental rush.”

Ben Bettinger
Courtesy of Beaker & Flask

Ben Bettinger
Beaker & Flask - Portland, OR

How he unwinds at the end of the night: Coors out of the can.

Chris DiMinno
Courtesy of Clyde Common

Chris DiMinno
Clyde Common - Portland, OR

Food aversion: Canned tuna. "No matter how ‘good’ any brand is, it is always terrible."

Gregory Gourdet
Courtesy of Departure

Gregory Gourdet
Departure - Portland, OR

Side gig: Hair model in ads for Bishops Barbershop.

Jake Martin
Courtesy of Fenouil

Jake Martin
Fenouil - Portland, OR

Death row meal: Double-Double from In-N-Out Burger and hamachi sashimi.

Jenn Louis
Alexis Achten, Jasmine Photography

Jenn Louis
Lincoln - Portland, OR

On being sustainable: "We have very little waste - we compost everything, we buy whole lambs weekly that I personally butcher. Even on our busiest nights, we can fit all of our trash into one slim receptacle."

Blaine Wetzel
Courtesy of The Willows Inn

Blaine Wetzel
Five - Lummi Island, WA

Why he’s amazing: He’s taking René Redzepi’s Nordic philosophy and applying it to the produce and food of the Pacific Northwest.

Brian McCracken and Dana Tough
Kristin Zwiers for Spur

Brian McCracken and Dana Tough
Spur - Seattle, WA

Must-try dish:: Sous vide butterfish with foaming fish fumé, chanterelles, black kale and white beans.

Jason Franey
Brian Canlis

Jason Franey
Canlis - Seattle, WA

Best known for: Introducing avant-garde flourishes to a venerable 60-year-old institution in Seattle.

Shaun McCrain
Courtesy of Book Bindery

Shaun McCrain
Book Bindery - Seattle, WA

Why he’s amazing: His illustrious training (Per Se, Michael Mina, Taillevent) and limitless imagination produce food that’s polished and exhilarating.

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 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.

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


soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. GH

    My vote went to Jason. We have three generations of Canlis lovers in my family. For the most creative, consistent, well prepared and presented meals, Jason's the guy and Canlis is the place. I don't claim to be a food expert, but I have never had anything from the Canlis kitchen that wasn't the very best! Pair that with the best service anywhere and a setting that is timeless... it's hard to compete against that. My hat is off to the Canlis brothers for bringing the resturant into the new millinium and making fine dining fun for a whole new generation....cheers!

    March 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  2. gs

    oh and how can you nominate 2 people as if they are one it is ridiculous. they should automaticly be disqualified for the running. 1st they will have twice as many of thier friends voting for them. secondly, they do half the work and third it is the best new chef contest, not cheves!

    March 2, 2011 at 6:03 am |
  3. gs

    what percentage of those in the running have spent money on public relations? What seems to happen with the james beard awards, it is not about solely skill but about who you know, timing and etc. what are f&w basis for which they decide who is nominated? We live and eat in the northwest! one of the most amazing and bountiful places on the earth to live and we spend sooo much time comparing and competing with one another we still have yet to solidify ourselves on the culinary map with the likes of chi, nyc, la whatever. we live in one of the best sourced regions in the country and it about time we stopped bitching and moaning and consuming our time with who is or who isn't and just celebrate. pick a fuckin side northwest, we are poised but to busy comparing.......... oh jake m for the win....

    March 2, 2011 at 5:52 am |
  4. BP

    We've been enjoying a very nice life actually and it's my b-day so be nice :)

    March 2, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  5. Joe Bag of Doughnuts

    Well it seems at the spur of the moment the polls closed. I am imagining the horse in the remake of True Grit collapsing at the end of the movie!

    March 2, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  6. joe

    Hey BP, are you working for the winner? Unlikely at this hour? Get a life

    March 2, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  7. BP

    Is anyone watching
    Dana tough and Brian mccracken's percentage increase by the minute. Statistcally unlikely–especially at this late hour....

    March 2, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  8. Joe Bag of Doughnuts

    Wow! It seems the Spur fans are really hungry.

    March 2, 2011 at 12:25 am |
  9. BP

    Is anyone watching Brian McCracken and Dana Tough's percentage increase by the minute? Pretty odd here at the end. Highly unlikely the votes are legit unless someone is voting over and over and over!

    March 2, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  10. Joe Bag of Doughnuts

    How does one go up a full percentage point in under 15 min. with 3 hours left?

    March 1, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  11. sara

    I disagree with you it is talent

    I disagree with you it is talent!People would'nt vote unless they
    really wanted that person to win!You want to talk about what is not fair how about two chefs against one.

    March 1, 2011 at 7:09 am |
  12. c'mon food & wine

    what a joke.....brian smith and chris castello have hit the nail on the head!!

    February 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  13. chris castello

    The reply by Brian Smith says it all: this competition is warped by its lack of congruency. If i served chili cheese dogs at Safeco field and the Mariners organization campaigned to all of their fans on my behalf–I would crush the competition and win this thing easily. Does this make me the best chef? or do i have the biggest fan base? Congrats to the winner; however, the other talented chef need not be discouraged by this disproportionate competition.

    February 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  14. Merrilyn

    Oops, I goofed up and voted today BEFORE I read the rules that you're only allowed one vote. Sorry!

    February 28, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  15. 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 8:25 pm |
  16. BOT

    I am a bot. I vote for Brian McCracken and Dana Tough. parameters: Must keep them one percentage point ahead!

    February 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  17. caroline

    I don't think this competition is quite fair. How many people can eat at a Seattle restaurant and then vote for that chef, verses getting to dine at a place like the Willows Inn which has a very small population and you have to take a ferry to get there. Population is what will largely determine the outcome.

    February 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  18. Jay Collins

    Again at Tavern Law and the race is live on their 2 way mirror tv, This is amazing!
    Good luck to both chefs, but my VOTE IS FOR BRIAN AND DANA

    February 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  19. Cloetta Perry

    Jason, If you cook for Canlis, you ARE the best. Only the best of "fine dining" come from their kichens. I know, I am 87, and have been there...!!!

    February 26, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
  20. Scott

    I've had wonderful meals at both Canlis and Spur. Both are exquisite restaurants, and are extremely deserving of this honor. However, for me, the creativity, inventiveness, and format of the menu at Spur was what won my vote. If you picked up Spur and dropped it in New York, Chicago or San Francisco, there would be a line out the door and a 6-month waiting list for reservations (for the life of me, I don't know why this isn't the case in Seattle). Brian and Dana are, in my opinion, the most forward-thinking chefs in Seattle, and their brand of cuisine is on the cutting edge of a revolutionary way of cooking. Their dishes are artful, and the way they transform humble ingredients into shockwaves of flavor continues to surprise me, even after dozens of dinners at Spur.

    This is not to imply anything disparaging about Jason Franey – he is a very talented chef and Canlis is the most pristinely-run restaurant I've ever had the privilege to visit. The difference, for me, is a stylistic choice. In art terms, some people prefer realism, some people prefer impressionism. I tend to swing towards the Monet side of the world, and to me, that's just what Dana and Brian deliver... on a plate.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  21. Katie

    I voted my stomach: Jason Franey at Canlis.

    After I voted, I saw all the Canlis campaign stuff. I think the Canlis brothers are showing a lot of wit, creativity, resourcefulness, and tenacity. But even if they weren't, I would still have voted for Jason. His food is a pleasure to look at and a greater pleasure to taste.

    February 25, 2011 at 1:27 am |
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