Just a month after former Mozza chef de cuisine Bryant Ng took the “People’s Choice” award for “Best New Chef: Pacific” from the readers of Food & Wine, Mozza executive chef Matt Molina has a shiny new James Beard Award to add to his mantle as well. Molina, the chef who Russ Parsons pointed to as the one “who makes sure everything works” at Nancy Silverton’s famous Melrose Italian, won the award last night in the “Best Chef: Pacific” category in New York.
Molina had his start as a line-cook at Campanile before eventually helping to open Manhattan’s Del Posto in a quick-training sesh for his appointment at Mozza. He was previously nominated for James Beard Awards two times in the past: once as a “Rising Star Chef” nominee in 2007, and in 2010 for the same award he got his hands on last night, Molina’s first James Beard win. Congratulations Matt! Mozza itself won a medal for “Best New Restaurant” in 2007, hopefully allowing the Beard committee to turn its attention to another one of L.A.’s deserving restaurant empires in the future.