Food & Wine Classic: Best New Chefs Class of 2018
Special to The Aspen Times
BEST NEW CHEFS 2018
JESS SHADBOLT AND CLARE DE BOER
King, New York City
Himitsu, Washington D.C.
The Charter Oak, St. Helena, California
Freedman’s, Los AngeleS
Vicia, St. Louis
Lady of the House, Detroit
Kato, Los Angeles
Henrietta Red, Nashville
Mi Tocaya Antojería, Chicago
Most awards are given for excellence based on an extended body of work. But Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs (BNC) awards are a little different. They are designed to honor and encourage those who show potential; who, in their earliest forays into the world of chefdom, exhibit the promise of creating culinary magic long into the future.
For 30 years, the magazine’s editors have shown an unerring prescience in selecting chefs who would go on to make a difference in America’s culinary culture. From Thomas Keller to Nancy Silverton to David Chang, they’ve identified stellar chefs in the infancy of their careers who would ultimately mold the landscape of cooking and hospitality. The Best New Chefs have been harbingers of what was to come.
That first class, in 1988, featured names that would become a veritable hall of fame of America’s most significant chefs, each of whom created legacies in different cuisines and regions. Amazingly, to this day, nine of the 10 chefs selected in 1988 (George Germon of Il Forno died in 2015) still have involvement in the restaurant trade.
This year, the Food & Wine team traveled to the highways and byways of America to suss out the 30th class of America’s Best New Chefs. They carry on a tradition that is rife with responsibility. And just think of the meals that have been served along the way. Approximately 300 chefs have been honored since the first class and, for each, the moment they learned of their inclusion, life changed.
The 30th class is largely made up of big city chefs with just one — Katianna Hong of The Charter Oak, St. Helena, California — from what could be considered be a small town. Most have worked in the kitchens of superstars like José Andrés and Jamie Bissonnette. At least three have worked in restaurants run by former BNCs (Hong with Christopher Kostow BNC 2009, Michael Gallina with Dan Barber BNC 2002, and Julia Sullivan with Thomas Keller BNC 1988). And, in what may be a record, seven of the 11 BNC’s in this year’s class are women.
To all of the 2018 class, congratulations. We look forward to eating with you for the next 30 years.
Kelly J. Hayes writes the WineInk column, which appears every Thursday in the Aspen Times Weekly.
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