Jean Banchet Award Nominees Announced

Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia.
Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia.

Because life just wouldn’t be complete without awards with French names, we are happy to announce that the nominations for the Jean Banchet Awards, honoring local chefs, somms, etc. at a Grand Chefs Ball to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, have been announced. The nominations were made by diners, not some bunch of pointyheaded critics, and they offer an interesting alternative viewpoint to any other list of winners with a French name you’ve read lately. For instance, “Chef of the Year” includes just one Michelin-starred chef (Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia), one (Ryan LaRoche of NoMI) who lost a star when his place went more casual (apparently diners approve of the change more than Michelin did), one neighborhood joint Michelin will never find (Dan Pancake of Autre Monde) and one chef who has a star— for his other place (Giuseppe Tentori, nominated here for GT Fish & Oyster, which did get a Bib Gourmand). Check out the full list below.

Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia.

Chef of the Year: Ryan LaRoche, NoMI; Dan Pancake, Autre Monde; Giuseppe Tentori, GT Fish & Oyster; Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia

Pastry Chef of the Year:
Bryce Caron, Blackbird; Meg Galus, NoMI; Amanda Rockman, The Bristol; Cindy Schuman, Sepia

Best Chef-de-Cuisine: Dave Beran, Next; Sean Pharr, NoMI; David Posey, Blackbird; Brian Runge, Graham Elliot

Rising Chef of the Year:
Chris Curren, Blue 13; Danny Grant, RIA; Chris Macchia, Coco Pazzo; Paul Dobroski, Everest

Rising Pastry Chef of the Year: Aya Fukai, RIA; Sarah Jordan, BOKA; Stephanie Mazzone, Coco Pazzo; Kady Yon, Pump Room at Public Chicago

Best Sommelier: Scott Harny, Eno at the Intercontinental; Michael Muser, The Peninsula Chicago; Dan Pilkey, RIA; Aaron Sherman, NoMI

Best Mixologist (New award in 2011): Stephen Cole, The Barrelhouse Flat; Lynn House, Blackbird; Debbi Peek, The Bristol; Josh Pearson, Sepia

Best New Restaurant (New award in 2011):
Autre Monde; GT Fish & Oyster; Next; Vera

Best Neighborhood Restaurant: Autre Monde; The Bristol; Maude’s Liquor Bar; Vera

Best Fine Dining: Blue 13; Coco Pazzo; Next; Sepia

Best Catering Company:
BOKA Catering; Catering by Michaels; Entertaining Company; Limelight

Jean Banchet Award Nominees Announced