Guess what's fresh out of the kitchen today? A tasty little something called the much-anticipated James Beard Foundation's 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists. And if you've had a chance to take a glance at the list, you may have recognized that the names therein are to be found all over MUNCHIES. We've had the pleasure of working with some amazing chefs, bartenders, and restaurateurs for our editorial and video, and we're delighted to see that many of them are nominated.
Best New Restaurant nominees include New York City's Cosme, Austin's Olamaie, and Chicago's Parachute. Check out our Chef's Night Out episode with Cosme's Enrique Olvera to hang in Mexico City with the talented chef and watch him whip up his signature dish, a pumpkin filled with baby corn and coffee-ant mayo. Although we can't yet tell you a great place to source fresh ants, we can tell you how to make Olamaie's version of Super Bowl hot wings—yes, we have the recipe for the Austin eatery's Blackened Chicken Wings with buttermilk dressing and chili-honey sorghum glaze. And if you want to know the secret to the incredible fusion cuisine at Parachute, look no further than our piece from its chef Johnny Clark, and be sure to mind the part about his stage in the mountains two hours outside of Seoul.
Fine dining and fine drinking go hand in hand. Arnaud's French 75 Bar in New Orleans has received a nomination for Outstanding Bar Program, and if you're feeling the winter chills, why not warm up with a Tom & Jerry cocktail from Chris Hannah? If you're more of a beer drinker, check out our Nomadic Brews column, penned by Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, owner of fellow nominee Tørst.
When it comes to those up for Outstanding Chef, we're not surprised to see our pal (and subject of our documentary FARANG) Andy Ricker of Portland's Pok Pok. Watch FARANG below to see for yourself why Andy truly is outstanding.
And we know that Hanukkah has long passed, but we must tip our hat to fellow nominee Michael Solomonov of Philadelphia's Zahav, who you can also see cooking up some super-juicy short ribs in the MUNCHIES Guide to Hanukkah. Michael also gave us the helpful tip that frying latkes will make your pets smell greasy for days.
Our pal Christina Tosi is a bona fide pastry wizard over at Momofuku, so her nod in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category is well-deserved. She's also found all over MUNCHIES; we're super-obsessed with her Cookie Dough Cookies recipe, she makes a sweet (literally) cameo in Fuck, That's Delicious, and she parties through NYC on her episode of Chef's Night Out (as well as appears in Wylie Dufresne of wd~50's episode).
Speaking of New York, the much-beloved Spotted Pig appears as a nominee for Outstanding Restaurant. But did you know that April Bloomfield took us out for a night on the town in Chef's Night Out—or that she almost became a cop instead of a chef?
The Franks (i.e. Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli of Frankie's 457, Prime Meats, Cafe Pedlar, and more) are dually nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur. And they're also the dual hosts of our original series, Being Frank. In fact, the newest episode of Being Frank dropped today—check it out below. And when your appetite is torturously whetted, watch our episode of Chef's Night Out with Erik Anderson of Catbird Seat—owners Benjamin Goldberg and Max Goldberg are also nominated in this category.
Fancy a glass of wine? Rajat Parr of Mina Group, whom we followed around on the ultimate food and wine tour of Santa Barbara in Chef's Night Out, is nominated for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. He also told us all about the life-changing bottle of wine that likely sealed his eventual fate of appearing on this list.
Cheers to Abraham Conlon of Chicago's Fat Rice, who's nominated for Best Chef: Great Lakes. We loved sharing his story about the oral tradition of Macanese cuisine on MUNCHIES this past November.
And when it came to the Best Chef: NYC category, there were almost too many friends and featured chefs to name. Jonathan Benno of Lincoln Ristorante, John Fraser of Narcissa, Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone of Carbone, Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Seamus Mullen of Tertulia, Alex Stupak of Empellón Cocina, and Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto have all appeared on Chef's Night Out. Marco Canora of Hearth told us all about how he healed himself with broth; Action Bronson happily ate Carlo Mirarchi of Blanca's cuisine in the premiere of Fuck, That's Delicious (though it was the cheesy, baked-to-perfection pizza at his other joint, Roberta's); and Alex Raij of Txikito redefined the Thanksgiving sweet potato game with her awesome recipe of Korean Sweet Potatoes with Maple Sage Brown Butter and Marshmallows.
And naturally, we've got the Southwest and the (West) West covered too. Best Chef: Southwest nominee Aaron Franklin appears in our special devoted to the fanatical lines that snake out of Franklin Barbecue. And for Best Chef: West, there's Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Los Angeles' Animal, who get weird on some fried rice with Andy Milonakis in Fat Prince.
And Dominique Crenn of San Francisco's Atelier Crenn, in typical badass fashion, knows that she's Best Chef: West material (and the James Beard Foundation does, too). Though we already gave her top props even before she appeared on Chef's Night Out, she got the final word in when she told us that "We're Not 'Female Chefs,' Just Chefs."
Cheers to that, and a big congrats to all of the nominees this year!