Jean Banchet Award Nominees Announced

Rising Star Chef nominee Chris Nugent of Goosefoot.
Rising Star Chef nominee Chris Nugent of Goosefoot. Photo: Sky Full of Bacon

Last year was Next’s year at the Jean Banchet Awards, with the most talked about restaurant of 2011 winning Best New Restaurant, Best Fine Dining, and Best Chef-de-Cuisine (Dave Beran). This year the annual Chicago fine dining awards, which benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation with a Grand Chef’s Gala in February and are based in part on nominations from diners, are all over the map of Chicago. Especially in the Rising Chef category, which has two in Lincoln Square (Elizabeth and Goosefoot) and two on the north shore (Moderno and Market House on the Square). While that’s not to say downtown and Randolph Street exactly go unrepresented, it’s an interesting list for suggesting a scene that’s evolving in many directions, not just focused on one or two, mostly business-dining-oriented strips. Check out the full list of nominees below; the gala and awards, which raised over half a million dollars for cystic fibrosis research last year, will be February 8.

The 2012 Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence nominees include:

Chef of the Year: Ryan McCaskey, Acadia; Matthias Merges, Yusho; Dan Pancake, Autre Monde; Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia

Pastry Chef of the Year: Sarah Jordan, BOKA; Toni Roberts, theWit Hotel; Cindy Schuman, Sepia; Kady Yon, Pump Room at Public Chicago

Best Chef-de-Cuisine: Richie Farina, Moto; David Posey, Blackbird; Jan Rickerl, Girl & the Goat; Carl Shelton, BOKA

Rising Chef of the Year: Chris Nugent, Goosefoot; Iliana Regan, Elizabeth; Phil Rubino, Moderno; Dominic Zumpano, Market House on the Square

Rising Pastry Chef of the Year: Claire Crenshaw, Moto; Melissa Humphrey, Pastries Not Potatoes; Leigh Omilinsky, Café des Architectes; Ben Walker, Renaissance Chicago

Best Sommelier: John Aranza, Autre Monde; Kevin Bratt, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab; Scott Harney, Eno; Jason Prah, Acadia

Best Mixologist: Lynn House, Blackbird; Paul McGee, Three Dots and a Dash; Ben Schiller, BOKA; Michael Simon, Carriage House

Best Restaurant Service (New award in 2012): Acadia; Alinea; Autre Monde; Next

Best New Restaurant: Acadia; Balena; Elizabeth; Yusho

Restaurant of the Year: Acadia; Elizabeth; Girl & the Goat; Sepia

Best Catering Company: Big Delicious Planet; Blue Plate; BOKA Catering Group; Calihan

Jean Banchet Award Nominees Announced