From left: Bloomfield, Pelaccio, Mehta.Photo: Patrick McMullan
Ah, to be a rising star in the chef world. The James Beard Rising-Star Chef award is right around the corner, tonight Food & Wine will announce its Best New Chef awards, and this very morning Forbes has a slideshow of the celebrity chefs of tomorrow. Forbes picks ten chefs to watch, no fewer than four of whom are here in New York. Fatty Crab’s Zak Pelaccio, Jehangir Mehta of Graffiti, Cesar Ramirez of Bar Blanc, and April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig all got the nod. The judging panel is a strong one, including chef Christian Delouvrier, Will Blunt of Starchefs, and Susan Ungaro of the James Beard Foundation.
Pelaccio and Bloomfield seem like celebrity chefs to New York foodies, but they still don’t have a national presence. Mehta and Ramirez are both talented chefs just beginning to make an impact on the city. But are they too marginal? If we were picking celebrity chefs of the future, we would pick ones that had already received wide exposure and critical buzz, à la David Chang, circa 2006. Iacopo Falai comes to mind, as does Suba’s Seamus Mullen and al di la’s Anna Klinger. And then, of course, there are our Chefwatch subjects.