A while back, we noted that New York chefs didn’t get all that much play in Phaidon’s forthcoming book, Coco: 10 World Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs, wherein, as the new subtitle states, the publishing house asked chefs like Ferran Adrià, Mario Batali, Alain Ducasse, Fergus Henderson, Alice Waters, and others to name their favorite emerging toques. We let it go because, hey, New York chefs get more than enough recognition already, but the Canadians are pissed (or rather, super ticked off) that not a single Canuck was honored.
Upon hearing that only 99 out of the 100 chefs had been named, Shaun Smith, a chef turned food writer, recently penned a letter to Phaidon, signed by Susur Lee and a couple dozen other chefs and cookbook authors, asking them to “look Northward to Canada to fill that last spot.” The letter is posted on Smith’s website, and can also be found in an article he his colleague Karon Liu just wrote for Toronto Life’s website (Canadian chefs tell her that unlike us fame-grubbing New Yorkers, they’re just too modest for accolades).
Anyway, we’ve just discovered Smith’s letter was all for naught: Shannon Bennett, the owner of Australia’s Vue de Monde (who picked no fewer than four fellow Aussies to be on the list) has chosen London chef Anthony Demetre to close out the list. Phaidon has sent us a statement that probably won’t soften the blow.
Phaidon Press is very excited about the forthcoming release of Coco: 100 Emerging Culinary Stars Chosen by 10 of the World’s Greatest Chefs, a book that features culinary talent from around the world selected by 10 acclaimed chefs. We hope this will be the first in a series of food-themed editions in Phaidon’s celebrated 10x10 series which features books on architecture, photography, and now the culinary arts.
We understand the disappointment of not being included. However, the decision of who is chosen in the book is not Phaidon’s, rather the 10 noted chefs who curated the emerging talents in the book. That’s what makes this book so special, that they are chefs chosen by their peers, without editorial interference.
YC Media, on behalf of Phaidon Press
To Shaun Smith, we say crack a Moosehead and chillax. This is hardly the last word on the world’s great chefs — as we’ve already pointed out and anyone should realize, there’s a great deal of nepotism involved in these lists. Take a look at the below — it’s the first time the breakdown of who chose whom has been published. You think Mario Batali was being completely objective when he tapped his current and former chefs Tommy Habetz, Mario Carbone, Cruz Goler, and April Bloomfield? But we sense this isn’t really about Coco — maybe this is Canadian chefs telling all future listmakers and award-givers that they aren’t going to take all this Changbanging anymore (and yes, it’s only getting worse). To which we can only say: fair enough.
Jakob Mielcke Hansen
Robert Owen Brown
Ka Lun Lau
Wai Man Chan