Our colleagues at MenuPages spoke to several Beard-nominated chefs leading up to tonight’s awards ceremony. We were most interested in where they were eating. Their tastes vary, though we advise Paul Liebrandt and Gabrielle Hamilton to order some extra inventory. Also, be sure to follow our Twitter feed for real-time coverage of tonight’s event.
Jeff Benjamin of Philadelphi’s Vetri, nominated for Outstanding Service: “I’m excited to see Cesare Casella’s Salumeria Rosi, I haven’t been. Of course if Stephen Starr wins we’ll go to Buddakan for a congratulatory drink with him. Last year we shook off the loss at Morimoto.”
Paul Kahan of Chicago’s Blackbird, nominated for Outstanding Chef: “I really want to go to Momofuku Milk Bar, I’m definitely going to go there. There’s a coffee shop on First Avenue and 7th that’s a little drip coffee place that I went to a few years ago, and I’m going to try to go there every morning. It’s an amazing cup of coffee. I’m sure I’ll spend some time at the bar at Babbo, drink a little wine with Mario — that’s obligatory. Beyond that I’m going to go to Brooklyn and check out some beer places, since the Publican is beer-driven. Spuyten Duyvil for sure, and wherever anyone drags me.”
Nate Appleman of San Francisco’s A16, nominated for Rising Star Chef: “I always look forward to Gramercy Tavern. It’s my favorite restaurant. One place I want to try that I haven’t been to is Motorino.”
Mindy Segal of Mindy’s HotChocolate in Chicago, nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef: “For sure! I’m going to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, I’m going to Gramercy Tavern, I’m going to see my friend Missy [Robbins, former chef di cocina at Spiaggia] at A Voce. Fatty Crab is a not-miss when I’m in New York. Frank DeCarlo — Frankie — is my favorite chef on the planet — I never don’t go to Peasant. And lots of drinking! I like Employees Only, I like Death & Co. … Smith & Mills is my favorite place — it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Definitely there. Love the Lobby Bar at the Bowery Hotel. It’s exactly what I love. My apartment looks like that. I love it.”
Michael Solomonov of Philadelphia’s Zahav, nominated for Rising Star Chef: “The Momofuku empire is always a good time, and when we were in New York for the Esquire thing, we went to Scarpetta for dinner, which was really, really good. We also went to Fette Sau, which was really good, and Blue Hill. I guess I’ve been on a BBQ kick recently. I like the Blue Ribbon Brasserie thing, it’s pretty cool to get to New York at four in the morning and have to wait for a table then.”
Zach Bell of Palm Beach’s Café Boulud, nominated for Best Chef, South: “My wife is a pastry chef, so we are going to check out what is going on in that scene. We do always have to satisfy our cravings for great ethnic food — Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, and of course a good slice as soon as we can.”
Sarah Grueneberg of Chicago’s Spiaggia, nominated for Outstanding Service: “Last time I was there, I ate at Convivio and it was amazing. I really want to go back, but there are so many places — I’ve got to go somewhere new. The Blue Ribbon team really does a great job, both the sushi and the brasserie. Our hotel has Blue Ribbon Sushi right in the building, so I’ll definitely check that out. Some sushi right off the plane — you can’t beat it.”
Daniel Patterson of San Francisco’s Coi, nominated for Best Chef, Pacific: David from Manresa made a reservation at Corton, so I’m really excited to eat there [with him]. I’m going to go to Le Bernardin; it’s been about ten years since I’ve been there, so I’m looking forward to that. And I’m going to try to get to Eleven Madison Park, at least for lunch, so I can try a few things.
Douglas Rodriguez of Miami Beach’s Ola, nominated for Best Chef, South: “I haven’t made any plans yet. A lot of people want to take me to different places, but I don’t have any set plans yet. Every time I’m in New York, I eat some Korean food. Korean food is high on the list. There’s a particular one on 36th Street. I don’t know the name of it, but it’s much higher-end than 32nd Street. They serve this frozen beef tartare with a raw quail-egg yolk, sesame oil, diced Asian pear, and fried shallots. It’s very unusual, because the beef tenderloin melts in your mouth. After it defrosts in your mouth, you start chewing it. I love that dish.”
Nancy Oakes of San Francisco’s Boulevard, nominated for Outstanding Restaurant: “I’m very interested in Corton, so we have reservations there. One thing is that a lot of our obligations are later, and it’s always been possible to eat late in New York, but that’s changed. Not everybody’s staying open as late.”
Koren Grieveson of Chicago’s Avec, nominated for Best Chef, Great Lakes: “I’d love to go back to Resto, which is great. I love the tete de cochon sandwich and the crispy pig’s ear salad. I always love going to Prune — that’s always a winner. Any of Mario [Batali]’s restaurants.”
Michael Schwartz of Miami’s Michael’s Genuine, nominated for Best Chef, South: “We’re going to go eat in as many restaurants as we can. We have reservations at some restaurants: Corton, Esca, Prune, Minetta Tavern. I can’t believe I got a reservation there, actually. But those are the places that we want to check out.”
Brian Duncan of Chicago’s Bin 36, nominated for Outstanding Wine Service: “I’m sure we’re going to Merkato 55 while we’re in town, also the Spotted Pig, Hearth. Paris Commune is on the list, not sure if we’ll make it or not. Those are just some of them; there are so, so many.”