OK, they are the 10 best NEW chefs so they are young and I doubt that Angel Palacios of Nobuo Fukauda consider themselves white. No women, I'll grant that but with the category being narrowed to new chefs. It can happen.
Don't forget, it never hurts to have a really good PR person. With all the great chefs out there how do you think most of these people are found? Great PR people. It is no coincidence that these chefs are the same ones with their names popping up in newspapers and magazines in the last year.
I am not saying that they don't deserve this award, they are all really great chefs, but there are hundreds of others that Food & Wine will never hear about because they either can't afford the top food PR people or they don't care to employ them as they would rather spend time cooking for a small, local following than jetting around making a name for themselves.
I don't believe that having 9 out of 10 "white"chefs is a coinsedence. You have to look at the demographic of executive and sous chef. A majority of them are "white" males.
However if Food and Wine were to release a "Best New Cook" then that is a whole different story on the ethnic matter.
I think that it just turned out that all the chefs chosen this year happen to be all of the same demographics. I feel that Food & Wine has done a great job promoting chefs from all demographics (age, sex, race, nationality). This business is still overwhemlingly a business of younger, white men (chefwise, not neccessarily cookwise), esspecailly when it comes to some of the hipper, trendier restaurants. I think that is just how it played out this year.
I had a chance to work with Bruce Sherman of North Pond in Chicago during a stage or trail run seeking employment. I did not get the job <sniff> but had a chance to see how a new and up and coming chef runs his kitchen and, as I see it, forge alchemy on fresh/seasonal/local ingredients. His food has life and lightness in detail and consturction of tastes.
So, erikanderson2, are you saying that you think the selections are fair?
Actually, I agree. There are now so many chefs out there all over the country doing wonderful food. That is a plus for the country. Sometimes the chef is a woman, sometimes a person of a different ethnic background -- what matters more to me is: HOW' THE FOOD?
Could not have said it better myself, all the real working chefs are too busy working to worry about silly awards, their award is the accomplishments they achieve every day and night. As far as no women were included I think has to do with the fact that there are no registered female chefs at this point in history, correct me if I am wrong, this has no dis respect for women in general, just stating fact, same as you do not see any women in the NFL, NHL, NBA, does not mean they cannot play sports. I am all for equal rights and equal pay, but the work must also be of equal performance and accreditations.
How topical.....How "Food and Wine" selects their 10 best new chefs. They call local media in various towns and scout out the promising ones that everyone recommends.
The criteria is that they've only been working in the restaurant for 5 years, they are doing interesting "cutting edge" shtuff. The editors also contact known good chefs (example, Danny Meyer from St. Louis) to get their input. They come to town and eat their way through it. I get to go on a meal this week with the head food editor.....yep I'll tell you how it goes after the fact.
So they are looking for artisinal, creative, cool food...weird that this thread came up when their coming into town.
PS...the market is on the agenda too!!!!! I'm putting together a local products basket so they get to sample quality local shtuff.
And I had to ask what cutting edge meant....cus Alice Waters has been doing the local thing for 25 years.
Yup, its pretty bad, I know at least three Chefs in my area that are top notch, but **** we are from Oshawa, its like the academy awards, its all about hype and media. Lots of great people doing great work that go unnoticed in the lime light but are noticed by their clientel, I believe that is more imporatant.
It's no surprise that the "best" chefs reflect the demographics of the target market. Even ethnic minorities who receive awards tend to cook in a ways which appeal to the influential majority.
Over the years we've been told that there is a set of criteria under which we can call something good and anything which falls outside does not qualify. We need to move away from the Euro-Masculine version of "good" and develop a more contemporary ideal, one which includes more women, different ethniticies, and less foie gras.
ok.....for the inside scoop, Food and Wine sends out REALLY knowledgable food staff that do their homework before they hit a city. Websites, restaurant reviewers, local publications are all scrutinized prior to coming to town. The question asked is who is doing "cutting edge food", Who is new and hot, I'm condensing and wanna say "who sparkles?"
So they eat lunch and then dinner twice....for several days.
I brought her a selection of artisinal locally produced foods so they could munch at the hotel and try some things they may not find. It was interesting coming up with the list of shtuff.....think about what you would include in a basket from your area.
The restaurant we visited was good, really good. The waiter screwed up and did not bring a charcuterie platter that I ordered for the table. He sent over Sautern and bought desserts but I was not a happy camper...I wanted to try the boudin.
So, Best New is not the cool little dive BBQ place on the corner it's the courses and twists and dining.
The chef was a man of color at the restaurant we visited.....the other places in town she is going to have white males....oh and the restaurant she went to early last night was run by
the owner's 20ish daughter....his wife does pastries.
So, being fair, there are some creative chefs in ST. Louis that are not cooking for the public....they don't count for this gig....we thought of others that are so wonderful but not in spaces with work that let them fly....ie working at a steak place or cooking breakfast and lunch in a office building for $5-7 check ave.
Timing.....not necessarily PR, does not hurt but is not the biggest critieria since most reviews are done whether you've got an agent or not.....I know of very few in ST. Louis that spend for PR.
Its politically motivated, there are a lot better Male Chefs out there too that are not noted, nor would they want to be? Like I said before, the REAL Chefs out there are too busy working to worry about silly propaganda magazines.
you are certainly right Chef Hogan, I've been in an interesting position for a couple of years.....I've gotten to select chefs for stage work, I take VIPS in the industry to dinner, I recommend places in town.....who do I choose....??? Well, I've been burned by talent that can't follow through with a recipe or picture. I've been burned by chefs that commit then don't follow through and don't call. I've taken visitors to restaurants that use local farmers products. I frequent places that are comfortable and fun to be in... St. Louis food insiders talk about the same restaurants, we talk chefs not always restaurants, and we go for the total pkg. If your service is horrible the experience is bad and it will be less likely that I'll return soon.....has nothing to do with the kitchen.
So, females that sparkle in the kitchen ....name some in your town.
I just had a women chef's event featuring local food....
Marla Scizzors pastry chef from Companion
Heidi Haller from Designing Chefs
Gretchen Morfogen from Whole Foods
Denise Chapel with the Health Dept (RD cheffed at fine dining)
KT Ayers from Riddles Penultimate
Kelly Twins...Bridget and Maggy....Maggy had a hot restaurant until she became a mom 2 years ago, now they have a radio and TV show
Lisa Slay...runs 4 restaurants and is a bang out chef
St Louis University RD/Culinary students are included in most things I do.....
So, women that couldn't make it and sparkle....Grace Dinsmoor from Modesto, Loads of women that cater some I've heard about and never met.
If it bugs you do something about it ....hold an event and feature
the quiet sparklers they like getting out of the kitchen and playing with contemporaries. Shoot that is how I derive some of my best ideas.
As to magazines and writers being political well I can see how you'd think that but I think it's a blanket statement and not accurately depicting the majority... They want a good story and they don't wanna have to fuss with some guy about returning calls or not sending a picture or not writing a recipe....usually it's that simple. I think it has to do with their organizational office skills...