Every year, restaurant industry website StarChefs.com selects four markets to focus on for their annual Rising Stars Awards, which are exactly what they sound like, awards recognizing up-and-comers in the industry. This year, New Orleans is one of the four; the last time they awarded New Orleans chefs was in 2003, when the likes of Scott Boswell and Donald Link counted as "rising stars."
The award recognizes people in a number of categories, from relatively standard ones like Chef, Pastry Chef, Sommelier and more. But there are some other categories that seem to have looser definitions, including Artisan, a new award that was inspired by "the craftsman spirit and incredible charcuterie of New Orleans." (That award goes to Bart Bell of Crescent Pie & Sausage Company.) There's also an award for Community, which went to Brian Landry of Borgne and Chris Hannah of Arnaud's French 75?we only mention it here because Hannah, the one in the bow tie and hat in the photo above, is one dapper dude. And Michael Stoltzfus is being recognized in the Hotel Chef category for Sweet Olive inside the Saint Hotel, though Sweet Olive has been open just over a month. StarChefs.com managing editor, Will Blunt, told us that this one is based on recognition for Stoltzfus' work at Coquette as well as on a tasting menu of Sweet Olive dishes the StarChefs.com team had prior to the restaurant's opening. After the jump, all the award winners.
· Ben Hammond, Cochon
· Phillip Lopez, Root
· Alon Shaya, Domenica
· David Slater, Emeril's
· Sue Zemanick, Gautreau's
· Nathanial Zimet, Boucherie
· Rebecca Cohen, Stella!
· Kelly Fields, Restaurant August
· Michael Stoltzfus, Sweet Olive
· Bart Bell, Crescent Pie & Sausage Company
· Adam Biderman, the Company Burger
· Chris Hannah, Arnaud's French 75
· Brian Landry, Borgne
· Aaron Burgau and Leon Touzet, Patois and Tru Burger
· John Mitchell, Stella!
· James Ives, Cure (and Bellocq)
StarChefs.com is going to fête the winners with a walk-around tasting gala at Café NOMA on April 19th, from 6PM to 9:30PM. There will be dishes from all of these chefs, plus wine and cocktail pairings from the winning sommelier and mixologist. For the gala, the host chefs are Drew Dzejak of the Windsor Court Hotel and Brett Gauthier, of Ralph's on the Park. There's also a VIP hour hosted by Café NOMA's Chris Montero and Ralph's on the Park's Chip Flanagan. Tickets are $85, or $125 for VIP, and are available here.
· StarChefs.com [Official Site]