America’s best, most versatile new chefs to watch out for
A female chef in a man’s meat world, and a guy who turned the garage of his family home into a restaurant to serve up Korean dumpling and noodle dinners are among some of the honorees in Food & Wine magazine’s list of best new chefs to watch out for in 2017.
Every year, editors and food experts travel across the United States in a bid to shine the spotlight on up-and-coming chefs who may not be household names — at least, not yet.
Here’s a selection of their picks for 2017:
Yoshi Okai, Otoko - Austin, Texas
Editors describe chef Okai as a sort of sushi heretic, not for his techniques — he has a “fetishistic attention to rice, the shaping of nigiri” — but for his unpredictable use of flavors. The 12-seat restaurant Otoko serves a multi-course omakase menu that blends Tokyo-style sushi with Kyoto-style kaiseki, and that doesn’t forget its Texas home, be it in the surprising use of Meyer lemon or finger limes, or nods to traditional Texas barbecue.
Peter Cho, Han Oak - Portland, Oregon
At Han Oak, chef Cho hosts diners in a converted garage from his family home where he smokes his meats, hand-cuts his noodles, and slow-cooks his Korean dishes, while the strains of Chance the Rapper blast from the speakers above.
For $35 a head, diners tuck into what F&W editors describe as “the most exciting new Korean food in the country,” with dishes like kalgooksu, made with hand-cut noodles in an egg drop chicken broth, and smoked hanger steak served Korean-style with lettuce wraps, spicy soybean paste, pickled bean sprouts and cabbage slaw. Or as F&W editors put it: “The result is a little bit Seoul savant and a little bit Kid and Play, which feels like the right tone for a chef who is preserving the art of the damn-good time for future generations of food nerds.”
Angie Mar, The Beatrice Inn - New York
With a resume that boasts stints at Marlow & Sons, the Spotted Pig and an apprenticeship with legendary Parisian butcher Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, Angie Mar is, as F&W puts it, “putting the notion of masculine meatery on watch.” At The Beatrice, a Kansas cote de boeuf is dry-aged for 60 days and served with marrow blistered blackberries and charred prawn butter.
Applewood-smoked rabbit is served with blueberries, pink peppercorns, German chocolate and burnt laurel. And duck is salt-cured, smoked, roasted and flambed, before being dished up with cherry jus and fingerling Lyonnaise potatoes.
Jay Blackinton, Hogstone’s Wood Oven - Orcas Island, Washington
Hogstone’s Wood Oven is not the most accessible dining address. But the ferry crossing is worth the journey for the “purest expression of Pacific Northwest cuisine,” say F&W editors. Meals are made with hyperlocal ingredients from the island’s micro-environment.
Chef Blackinton raises his own pigs, digs his own clams and grows his own vegetables. Along with his wood-fired pizzas, sample meals include pork loin served with burnt pear and potato puree topped with egg and salmon roe.
The full list of chefs will be published in the July issue of the magazine.
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