Just as they began doing last year, Food & Wine is opening up the polls to elect the People’s Best New Chef, who will be honored in their prestigious Best New Chefs issue this summer alongside their ten editorial picks from around the country. For the second year running, Benu’s Corey Lee and Étoile’s Perry Hoffman get this early nod, which serves sort of as a shortlist for the editorial picks — Joshua Skenes of Saison, as you may recall, was on last year’s list and then went on to be one of the chosen ones by editor Dana Cowin and company.
As Cowin explained to Grub Street last year, the winner will be based solely on the overall number of online votes they receive, and it may be possible that the people’s pick will also be one of the editorial picks.
This year’s list of ten nominees for the California division is Bay Area heavy, but we’ve got one very formidable competitor in this popularity contest down in L.A. Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio, whose new restaurant ink. recently opened in West Hollywood to near universal praise, has jumped out to an early lead and if we had to guess who’ll take this poll, it’s him.
But let’s hear it for the home team, and vote for your favorite now! Voting closes next week, on March 11, and the overall national winner will be announced on March 12. We expect the editorial picks to be announced in early April, with Cowin doing her now annual ritual of teasing out the names via Twitter riddles (@FWScout).
The People’s Best New Chef Nominees - California
Sean Baker — Gather, Berkeley
Danny Bowien — Mission Chinese Food, San Francisco
Perry Hoffman — Etoile, Yountville
Jordan Kahn — Red Medicine, Los Angeles
Corey Lee — Benu, San Francisco
Thomas McNaughton — Flour + Water, San Francisco
Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara — Sons & Daughters, San Francisco
Bryant Ng — The Spice Table, Los Angeles
Rachel Sillcocks — Piccino, San Francisco
Michael Voltaggio — Ink, Los Angeles
The People’s Best New Chef [Food & Wine]
Earlier: Quince Pastry Chef Devin McDavid Named One of Food & Wine’s Best New Pastry Chefs
Dana Cowin Explains How This People’s Best New Chef Award Will Work
Newly Crowned Best New Chef Josh Skenes ‘Had a Complete Blast’ in NYC