Food Network’s daliance with Seattle

The Best Thing I Ever Ate photo courtesy of Hulu

This post originally appeared on Seattlest

In case you missed it, last Monday featured the Food Network crushing on Fremont’s Revel for the ‘Messy‘ episode of their series, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The premise of this show is the Food Network featuring various culinary dignitaries waxing poetic on what they think is the best thing they’ve ever ate. And this past Monday was Revel’s turn to be celebrated. But this restaurant gem isn’t the only place in Seattle that they’ve considered for the best thing ever eaten; there are a solid group of restaurants famously noted by people talking about their food, famously talking about our city’s food.

  • Revel’s Asparagus Pistachio Olive Chutney Radicchio Rice Bowl – This Fremont hotspot has packed the house since their opening last winter. That likely won’t change with the New York Times‘ Frank Bruni expressing his love for Revel’s Rice Bowl. If you recall, last summer, Bruni shared his recap of his time in the area and one of those loves was for Revel’s Rice Bowl, so much so, he thinks it’s one of the best things he ever ate.
  • Toulouse Petit’s Cured Pork Cheek Confit Hash – This episode featured Toulouse Petit’s breakfast happy hour by Melissa d’Arabian; Season Five winner of The Next Food Network Star. She particularly likes the ‘Bang for the Buck‘ that one gets from Toulouse Petit’s Pork Cheek Hash.
  • Dahlia Lounge’s Lemon Scallion Dungeness Crab Cakes – Once again, the Food Network gives some love to Tom Douglas for his crab cakes at Dahlia Lounge on the ‘Obsessions‘ episode. Giada De Laurentiis was smitten with these glorious hockey pucks of crab meat created by the TDR group. This Seattlest agrees; these crab cakes are delicious.
  • Cafe Juanita’s Fruit Sorbet – Another Eastside  entrant, this time they give kudos to Chef Holly Smith’s Poco Caretto Fruit Sorbet at Cafe Juanita. In this ‘With Fruit‘ episode, Melissa d’Arabian sings the praises of the Beard award-winning chef’s sorbetto.

Eight different dishes from Seattle-area restaurants that the folks at the Food Network consider some of the best food they’ve ever eaten. Always good for the area to get culinary street cred. Now I’m hungry.

*Note – Give the restaurant a call if you want any of these dishes specifically. Menus are subject to change and just because it was on television doesn’t mean it will be there when you go. 

My Fall 2011 cookbook wish list

Photo: Raphael Brion/Eater NY

The good folks at Eater recently posted a robust list of buzzy cookbooks coming out this fall and holiday season. It’s not just cookbooks; tomes on cocktails, food history, memoirs, miscellany and more dot the field. And this food nerd is particularly excited for most of them. With the rundown of cookbooks, Eater took a wide angle glance at the season’s books that dabble in the world of food and wine. I’m selfishly narrowing the list to the books that I want. Here they are:

Eleven Madison Park the Cookbook by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara

In my trips to the Big Apple, three restaurants stood out to me; Fatty Crab, Le Bernardin, and Eleven Madison Park. Each had a uniquely wonderful experience. Particularly for Eleven Madison Park. Going there, I had high expectations, but I wasn’t prepared to be blown away by our meal. It was amazing. And knowing how Chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Danny Meyer have evolved the restaurant, I’m anxiously awaiting this book.

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts by David McMillan, Frederic Morin, and Meredith Erickson

When we visited Montreal last year we partook in some great meals. Au Pied du Cochon and Kitchen Galerie amongst those. However, the neglect of going to Joe Beef continues to eat away at me. So this new book from the folks in the Sud Ouest neighborhood will allow me to get a feel for the restaurant. And then I can plan another visit to Montreal to indulge in more of the city’s food. With Joe Beef atop the list.

-The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria by Ferran Adrià

Continuing Adria’s culinary domination is this latest book. Built on the notion of Family Meal; the dinner made by a restaurant’s staff before service starts. And when the inspiration and ideas come from his El Bulli, even more exciting. Another in the line of great Phaidon books that delve into Ferran Adria’s world.

Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi

The march towards Momofuku world dominance continues. This time in the form of Chef Christina Tosi’s irreverent, creative, and tasty sweets and baked goods. If one ever goes to NYC’s Momofuku Milk Bar, one will find things like Crack Pie, Compost Cookies, Cereal Milk Soft Serve Ice Cream; hopefully all of these things make it to the book. I can’t wait to find out.

CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life by Jessie Oleson

Head Spy Jessie Oleson and her valiant Cuppie the Cupcake arrive via book form to share recipes and whimsy in this book. You should dabble into the world of CakeSpy for the subversively light-hearted look at baked goods. Plus, Jessie is rather awesome.

The Seasonal Cocktail Companion: Recipes and Projects for Four Seasons of Drinking by Maggie Savarino

If you’ve had a drink at Madison Park Conservatory or read her column in Seattle Weekly, you know that Maggie Savarino knows her way around liquor and spirits. This book adds a seasonal component to cocktails; taking a look at what’s fresh and applying them to libations.

There you have it; a half-dozen new cookbooks that I’m looking forward to. And if there are some others that make their way to me (Mario Batali’s new book, the cookbook from the Voltaggio brothers, Jacques Pepin’s latest), I won’t say no to them either.

Where should you get these new cookbooks? Amazon is of course the option, but why not support your local independent book store? Even better, go visit Seattle’s own Book Larder when it opens this October. It’ll be Seattle’s first culinary bookstore and all sorts of great events will happen there. See you around the reading room. And then the kitchen.

Washington Wine Tasting with Stephen Tanzer

This post first appeared on Seattlest.

Over the last few summers a wine event in Seattle has flown so far under the radar most wine fans don’t know it happens. And just a few weeks ago, it occurred yet again. Stephen Tanzer is one of the more renowned wine reviewers in the world. His International Wine Cellar newsletter (and Winophilia blog) is required reading for winos. In my opinion, he’s part of the big three with Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker. And he’s part of this wine event that happens the past few summers.

I’ve been fortunate to attend these wine tastings. The first was in 2008 at Art of the Table. The theme that year was the five best Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, in Tanzer’s estimation, that Washington can produce. It was a great event which opened my eyes to the capability of our state’s wines. An added benefit was the opportunity to learn from Tanzer, which has been a bonus to every year’s tasting. In 2009, the event was moved to Tom Douglas’ Palace Ballroom. The theme followed suit, but Tanzer added the wrinkle of one of his favorite Syrahs and Cabs from other parts of the world as points of comparison. 2010 focused all Syrah, showcasing the very best that Washington can produce with this Rhone varietal. In attendance were some of the winemakers whose bottles were being poured that evening. A great night to be a wine nerd.

The theme for the 2011 tasting? To shine the light on 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab blends from Washington. That particular vintage was highlighted because of the class that it showed and also to have some wine with a touch more bottle age. Why Cabernet? To see what this noble grape can do in the vineyards of our state and in the hands of area winemakers. Speaking of those winemakers, they were again in attendance. Always interesting to see the give and take of what Steve tasted, what the winemakers discuss, and how the crowd responds to the wines – all at the same time.

I was familiar with most of the wines; regardless, all of them had me intrigued to see what Steve Tanzer and the event organizer, David Hamilton, had in store for us. What was exciting about the evening was to try all of these wines in an open format with one of the world’s pre-eminent wine critics shepherding us. This was the format of all the past tastings and it made for a rare wine night to learn and try some world class wines.

Here are the wines that were poured in 2011:

The folks that were at the event to represent their wineries were:

  • Bob Betz – Betz Family Winery
  • Chris Upchurch – DeLille Cellars
  • John Abbott – Abeja
  • David Larsen – Soos Creek Wine Cellars
  • Gilles Nicault – Long Shadows
  • Paul Mcbride – Grand Reve Vintners

In going through this horizontal tasting, the first two flights were red blends with a focus on Bordeaux varietals and how they leaned on Cabernet Sauvignon. The last two flights were almost all Cabernet Sauvignon. As we went through the flights we noted that though these wines did have some age, they were still relatively young. One wine in particular was noted as having life through 2030 in its tasting notes. A key to tasting any red wine is to pay attention to the tannins; are they chunky and harsh? Or fine-grained and supple? Tannins are one of the hallmarks of red wine and having a gauge of their context can help in the appreciation of what you’re drinking.

As we went through the flights, I thought back on last year. On Syrah and how this grape shows much promise in Washington. I remembered the high level wine nerd discussion that broke out when the subject of clonal differences came up; how this clone was better than that one. This year, the talk was a bit more straightforward, not quite as geeky, but still plenty nerdy. We discussed the essence of terroir. That magical French notion, where wine exhibits a sense of place and if it exists in Washington. While some of the winemakers say that yes, Washington does have it, but because many of the wines come from grapes across the best vineyards of Eastern Washington, the goal of the best wine is what they aim for.

We also spent time reminiscing on the 2005 vintage. Often considered one of the great recent vintages for Washington, it gave the winemakers grapes to make great wine.  And for most of the winemakers, they spoke fondly as to what Mother Nature gave them and how the conditions were ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon; the Indian summer that year attributed to the structure of the grapes. That 2005 was a vintage where a winemaker could let the grapes shine. One of the things that I consider when tasting wines, can you taste the winemaking? Can you notice the level of oak that went into the wine? As we embarked in tasting, my mind was swimming in how to taste just these components.

Of the wines we had, my personal favorite was the one from Soos Creek Wine Cellars. I didn’t know much about them going into the evening, but it was an elegant and beguiling Bordeaux-style blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, and 18% Cabernet Franc. The tannins were like sand with a mid-palate of dried fruits and a rich and fulfilling finish. This wine was great. Even better was that it was unexpected. I’ll be keeping my eye on Soos Creek and the other offerings from David Larsen.

The other winethat stood out to me (note – all of the wines were very good, some just resonated with me that evening more than others) was the Betz ‘Le Parrain‘. We learned from Bob Betz that ‘Le Parrain’ means Godfather, and they don’t make it that often (once in the last 15 years) and this vintage fit the bill to make it. I also really enjoyed the offerings from Januik, Chateau Rollat and Leonetti Cellar. Who am I kidding? All were good.

One of my favorite moments of these dinners is learning about the up-and-coming wineries in Steve Tanzer’s estimation. It was at the event in 2008 where he told us about Corliss Estates. When he was telling us about Corliss Estates, most in the room never heard about it. Now wine nerds all know about this Walla Walla winery. Here are the wineries that Tanzer was particularly impressed by in his recent visit: Kerloo Cellars, Tulpen Cellars (for their Sangiovese), Saviah Cellars, Sleight of Hand Cellars (although their labels leave a lot to be desired), Den Hoed Wine Estates, Eight Bells Winery (particularly the Syrah), Obelisco Estate, Woodinville Wine Cellars, Efeste (white wines were showing particularly well), and Gorman Winery (their best vintage to date). I wonder what Steve’s thought is of Figgins, the new bottle from Figgins Family Wine?

What was exciting and exasperating about this tasting is the exclusivity and scarcity of these wines. It was an honor to be able to taste the high caliber of wines, and exasperating in that they are all probably impossible to get at retail. We’re probably setting sail into the world of wine auctions and the like on eBay, I have no idea how that will work out. So good luck finding any of these.

Key takeaways from that evening; we drank a lot of great wine. The 2005 vintage provides a barometer for how great Washington wines can be. The 2008 vintage is very exciting and quite good. The price and value of Washington wines is amazing. Soos Creek was my winner for the evening. But all of the wines were very good, and some a part of the status of Washington’s new cult wines. And now I’m looking forward to the 2012 edition of this epic wine tasting.

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How to tick off a wine snob; ice cubes in wine

This post originally appeared on Seattlest

There are a host of faux pas that one can make when it comes to wine. Drinking wine too warm (or too cold). Storing bottles in too warm of a place. Keeping bottles in your car (don’t do this). Confusing your Cabernet Sauvignon from your Sauvignon Blanc. But there is perhaps none worse than putting ice cubes in wine. Or so I thought.

Before we get to the moment where I took pause with putting ice cubes in a glass of wine, let’s delve into why this is bad form.

Would you ever consider putting ice cubes in milk? Beer? Orange juice? Of course not, it’s weird. The additional frozen water just expedites the process of watering down your beverage. And watered down wine isn’t a good thing. It dilutes the flavor and thins out whatever nuance the wine has to begin with. Additionally, it’ll bring down the temperature a bit too quickly. Wine is intended to be served at room temperature, but note that this was room temperature from ancient times. The modern room temperature of 72 degrees is deemed too warm. Wine academics would prefer that wine is served about 12-15 degrees south of that.

But some folks still like putting ice cubes in wine. While there is nothing wrong with it, it’s not exactly suggested practice. So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that superstar chef (and Seattle’s own) Mario Batali adds ice cubes to his wine. But, Le Grande Orange does it a bit differently and he certainly ‘chefs’ it up. According to the folks at Grub Street, he makes a light simple syrup and squeezes some fruit juice in it before freezing the concoction as ice cubes. And then he adds it to Rosé. How about that? While this isn’t exactly an ice cube (it’s more of a light popsicle), it does the same thing as ice; it lowers the temperature and dilutes the wine’s flavor. Mario just does it differently and amps it with fruit juice and simple syrup. His noted celebrity chef status simply makes the whole thing sound plausible, so plausible that I even tried it.

In the end, while I’m not an advocate for ice cubes in wine, you have an option. But please don’t add ice cubes to red wine. If you really want to do that, make sangria.

Food Network enters the wine game

photo from Eater

On the scale of interesting news this fits somewhere between ‘huh’ and ‘that’s cool, I guess’. As shared by the folks at Eater, the lifestyle behemoth that we know as Food Network is releasing their first series of wine.

Making and releasing wine can definitely be a vanity project. It’s filled with hard work, massive overhead, low margins and more, but when you’re playing at the level that Food Network is, it’s pretty much an opportunity to brand something that already existed. It’s not like they’re having Michael Chiarrello or Tyler Florence lend a hand in the wine-making. For that, the Food Network has relied on the folks at Wente Vineyards in California. They are calling their new wine ‘entwine‘, with a goal to create a wine that pairs well with food. Well, no crap. Most wines match well with food.

Here is what I find interesting. The pricepoint is $13 a bottle. Not bad, some decent stuff can be had at that level. (Though, it is awfully hard for small producers to meet that pricepoint.) But their bottles state ‘California’ as the region designate. What this says to me is that the grapes, and grape juice, used to produce their wine are sourced throughout the entire state and each vintage going forward could likely have different vineyard designates each year. I’m not a geography major, but I recall California being huge. Such vineyard designates can be anywhere from Napa Valley, Central Valley, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, or the dozens of other California AVAs. Or a combination of said areas.

While it’s possible one could get a good wine with no vineyard designate, it does raise an eyebrow as the yield of jug wines coming from California is staggering.  I personally want to drink and buy wine that celebrates its origin, not a chemical process that creates a consistent product. Buying grapes and grape juice on a spot market is a way to make winemaking more accessible, but purposely creating a brand that does not highlight the origins and producers that help to make the brand successful gives me pause. No matter how big of a presence you have, producing a wine like this will always be a community effort.

That’s not to say that entwine doesn’t have potential. I just happen to be skeptical of it. They’re making Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon a part of their suite of varietals. If you want to try these, they’ll be available nationwide soon enough. As for me, I think I’ll keep trying wineries closer to home with more character that aren’t conceived by marketing execs, rather produced by former marketing execs that are following a new passion and appreciating those who have helped educate them along the way to success.

Top Chef Auditions in Seattle

Calling all budding chefs; the folks at Bravo are going to roll back into town for more auditions for their Top Chef brand. They’ll be searching for talent to fill their flagship show, Top Chef, and their pastry focused, Top Chef Desserts.

When Top Chef was last in Seattle, the auditions were at Canlis. And the local beat covered it with aplomb. In prep of getting the word out for this round of auditions the good folks at Seattle Weekly delve into more info about it here.

If you think you have the skill and thespian ability to be the next cheftestant, get your chef’s whites ready, figure out your on-camera persona, and grab your spatulas for these auditions. Until then, I’ll finish up with this season of Top Chef All-Stars. I’m still annoyed that Jennifer Carroll was kicked off. My money is on Richard Blais now. So if you’re ready to be the next Michael Voltaggio or Yigit Pura, get yourself down to Hotel 1000 on Wednesday March 9, 2011 from 10am – 2pm. I think I may swing by on my lunchbreak to check out the scene. And if you are auditioning, best get to crackin’ on that application (PDF); word off the street says it’s a doozy.

Photo courtesy of Bravo Media LLC and the AJC

Oysters as far as the eye can see

Over the course of the next two weekends, folks in Seattle will have at their disposal two events catering to oyster addicts. If you love the briny bite of the bi-valve, these two events will be up your alley. This Saturday will be South Lake Union’s Oyster Frenzy, while next weekend’s will be Elliott’s Oyster House’s Oyster New Year Bash.

I’m an unabashed oyster fiend. Love them. On the half-shell, in a stew, barbecued, roasted, whatever, I’m in for them. So events like these are totally up my alley. In fact, I went to Flying Fish’s Oyster Frenzy many years ago and was able to be a part of the gleeful carnage of shell and slurp. And it was awesome.

But truth be told, this oyster appreciation has only kicked in during the latter third of my life. Growing up, my parents would eat oysters (roasted, never raw), but they never held an appeal for me. Clams and mussels I was fine with, but oysters, no way. As one does when they get older, I experimented. I’m glad I finally did and now I’m making up for lost time. Which is why events like Oyster Frenzy or Ocean New Year are up my alley. I get to binge.

On deck is this Saturday’s Oyster Frenzy at Flying Fish. The one I went to was a blast. It was in Flying Fish’s Belltown location, and if anyone has been there, you know that the space can feel tight in a hurry. The newer Flying Fish in South Lake Union feels larger and will probably have a nice feel and flow. For $35 you get all you can eat oysters; raw, fried or in a stew. Along with tastes of beer and wine that aim to pair nicely. The event runs from 1-4pm, and it’s a crazy popular event, so call Flying Fish stat for last minute availability. Flying Fish 300 Westlake Ave N, Seattle 206.728.8595

I’m really looking forward to next week’s Ocean New Year at Elliott’s Oyster House. I was invited to a ‘slurp-up’ a few weeks ago as a teaser to the event. Local oyster growers told us of the history of the bi-valve in our area. We tried out some of the wines that Jon Rowley noted as being ideal oyster wines. And we were able to indulge in fresh oysters and other seafood bites.

All of this made me anticipate Elliott’s Oyster New Year bash (as part of their Ocean Harvest Festival) even more. On Saturday night from 5-9pm, Elliott’s will host a big bash with live music, a 90-ft bar, seafood buffet, wines from dozens of producers and more. An added bonus to the festivities is that all proceeds will benefit the Puget Sound Restoration Fund; a group with a mission to protect our waterways and the species calling it home.

For more information on the event, visit the Oyster New Year site; where you can see what’s on tap for the seafood buffet, the roster of wineries, and how to buy tickets. For $95, you can be part of quite the ocean party. Added bonus; Elliott’s is aiming to make this event as sustainable as possible. From compostables to recyclables, most everything will be handled as green as possible. I’m sure my SO’s dad would want the empty shells; he’s had a grand goal of lining his driveway with oyster shells. I’m sure an event with several hundred people consuming thousands of oysters will help this endeavor. Because otherwise, I think the turn of the century is the feasible goal.  Elliott’s Oyster House 1201 Alaskan Way, Pier 56, Seattle 206.623.4340

Look forward to seeing you around town; knee deep in oyster shells with the look of delirium that all oyster lovers have. See you around the shucking table.

Photo courtesy of Serious Eats.

Cooking Tip: Parsley

The second in a cooking tip series that I started a few years ago (ed. note: Yes, I do need to add a few more). These are some household tips that should come in handy when cooking at home. The goal: to make things easy, cheap, and useful. Today’s installment: getting more mileage out of herbs, specifically parsley.

I love adding parsley to dishes. Its herbal freshness provides a nice clean flavor pop, it’s healthy, and the color adds a vibrant hit to any dishes you sprinkle it on. I hadn’t thought about parsley as a vehicle until this article about Daniel Boulud a few years ago where he talks about parsley’s ability to balance garlic and other strong flavors. I used to always think of it as a boring garnish. After reading the article I went parsley crazy.

So you’ve bought your bushel of parsley from the market and leave in its bag. If you do this, you’ll maybe get your parsley to last a couple of days tops. Anything more and you’ll get herbal sludge. Here is how you can prolong your herb’s lifespan (note that this also works for cilantro):

  • Get a tall jar or container.
  • Place parsley, stem end, into the jar/container
  • Pour water into jar/container device to cover stems
  • Cover loosely with plastic bag
  • Enjoy your parsley for much longer than you thought

There you have it! Quick, easy and free. Plus, you won’t have to pay for a crappy kitchen gadget like this one. And what to do with your bounty of parsley? A couple of recipes are below, but really, you can add it to most anything. Be sure to save the stems to use in stock; waste not, want not.

  • Chimichurri (an Argentinean sauce that goes great with grilled steaks and vegetables)
  • Pesto (for a variation on the traditional basil, try it with parsley)
Photo courtesy of chez loulou

Summer of grilling has begun

With the great weather that Seattle had last week, many a weekend warrior dusted off their grills to put food to flame. I love summer because a great meal is as easy as opening up the backdoor, lighting a fire, and getting dinner (or lunch) rolling. Although I will say that I’ve grilled in the rain, cold and in pitch black conditions, but I’m okay with this. That’s why they make grill lights and fleece; to cook outdoors when the elements go bad. Or so I’ve heard. But as we get going with the long nights that summer offers, here are some great grilling books that I find myself turning towards of late.

Two cool grilling books for the summer:

Top Chef Masters returns for Season 2

Its been announced and making the rounds; Top Chef Masters will be returning for Season 2 on Bravo. I’m looking forward to this season for a few reasons; I thought season 1 made for good watching, I always enjoy seeing top-tier chefs doing there thing, and most of all, Seattle has three entrants. Woot.

When we last talked about Top Chef Masters, season 1 was on the horizon and Kelly Choi was still an unknown to me. Well, after watching the season, we have a few more opinions on Kelly Choi, but most importantly, we were able to learn more about the roster of chefs. Going into the show I was already a fan of Rick Moonen and Rick Bayless, so it was pretty cool to see Chef Bayless walkaway with the prize. What I think is really great about the show is that it highlights chefs that are in the high-tier of their industry and expose them to a mass audience.

For this season, the net was cast a bit further and there are even more contestants. And also some returning contestants. So one of my faves, Chef Moonen will get another chance to take a stab. I’m also looking forward to seeing what’s up Marcus Samuelsson’s sleeve. I’m a fan of his style of cooking and have a lot of success with his recipes. Also, look forward to seeing what Susan Feniger brings to the table; she seems to be a blast.

What’s exciting for Seattleites is that we’ll have three entrants to the arena; Maria Hines of Tilth, Jerry Traunfeld of Poppy, and Thierry Rautureau of Rover’s. For season 1, Seattle didn’t have any competitors so to have these three is rather symbolic for the profile of our area. For any proof, read the comments in some of the blog posts about Top Chef Masters Season 2; people from San Francisco are freaking out because they aren’t represented.

I look forward to tuning in on April 7 for the start of the new season and to see what’s cooking. It’ll tide us over until the next season of Top Chef is at bat.

Here is the list of the chefs that will be competing in this season’s Top Chef Masters:

Jody Adams – Rialto Restaurant, Cambridge, Mass.
Govind Armstrong – 8 oz Burger Bar, Los Angeles, Calif.
Graham Elliot Bowles – Graham Elliot Restaurant, Chicago, Ill.
Jimmy Bradley – The Red Cat, New York, N.Y.
David Burke – David Burke Townhouse, New York, N.Y.
Wylie Dufresne – wd~50, New York, N.Y.
Susan Feniger – Street, Los Angeles, Calif.
Debbie Gold – The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.
Carmen Gonzalez – Chef Consultant, New York, N.Y.
Maria Hines – Tilth, Seattle, Wash.
Susur Lee – Madeline’s, Toronto, Canada
Ludo Lefebvre – Ludo Bites, Los Angeles, Calif.
Tony Mantuano – Spiaggia, Chicago, Ill.
Rick Moonen – Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nev.
Mark Peel – Campanile, Los Angeles, Calif.
Monica Pope – t’afla, Houston, Texas
Thierry Rautureau – Rover’s, Seattle, Wash.
Marcus Samuelsson – The Red Rooster, New York, N.Y.
Ana Sortun – Oleana, Cambridge, Mass.
Rick Tramonto – TRU, Chicago, Ill.
Jerry Traunfeld – Poppy, Seattle, Wash.
Jonathan Waxman – Barbuto, New York, N.Y.