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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Food & Wine Magazine: America's Best New Chefs 2005

Each year, the editors of Food & Wine Magazine scour the United States in an effort to identify the country's best new chefs.   Only those who have less than five years of experience in charge of a kitchen are eligible, and the winners are identified after an extensive nomination and evaluation process.   The July issue of F&W has just come out, and the results are in.   Here, in alphabetical order, are the F&W Best New Chefs for 2005:

Tyson ColeUchiAustin, TX
Seth Bixby DaughertyCosmosMinneapolis, MN
Christophe EmeOrtolanLos Angeles, CA
Shea GallanteCruNew York, NY
Colby GarreltsBluestemKansas City, MO
Maria Hines Earth & OceanSeattle, WA
Daniel HummCampton PlaceSan Francisco, CA
Lachlan Mackinnon-PattersonFrascaBoulder, CO
Tony MawsCraigie Street BistrotCambridge, MA
Eric ZieboldCityzenWashington, DC

The sole award winner based in the Bay Area, Daniel Humm of Campton Place, has had a very impressive couple of years.   In August 2003, at the age of 26, Humm earned Campton Place a 3.5 star rating from Michael Bauer, the San Francisco Chronicle’s food critic.   As Bauer put it:

“The new chef, Daniel Humm, is a miracle worker.   In a sluggish economy that has created many headaches, Humm has challenged the status quo and lifted the bar with his contemporary brand of European cuisine.”
Now, I must note that Bauer’s reviews themselves are never beyond critique, as some of them appear to be driven by wholly extraneous influences or entirely irrelevant factors.   Nevertheless, Bauer gives out 3.5 stars relatively rarely, and the other local restaurants that currently enjoy the same rating include Gary Danko, The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, Michael Mina, Terra, and Aqua.   Just being included in the company of such excellent chefs as Gary Danko, Ron Siegel, Michael Mina,
Chef Daniel Humm
Hiro Sone, Lissa Doumani and Laurent Manrique is an accomplishment, especially for somebody as young as Humm.

In February 2004, the Chronicle identified Humm as one of that year’s Rising Star Chefs, an honor bestowed on only four others.   Similarly, the James Beard Foundation nominated him for its Rising Star Chef of the Year award in both 2004 and 2005.   And while Humm did not walk away with the top prize of the competition in either year (Allison Vines-Rushing of Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar in NYC won in 2004, and Christoper Lee of Striped Bass in Philadelphia won in 2005), it is a testament to Humm’s talent just that he was nominated twice.

The F&W Best New Chefs award is therefore just the latest in a string of achievements for Humm, and an arguably important one at that.   After all, F&W has established a pretty good track record of recognizing individuals who have gone on to make significant contributions to the culinary arts.   For example, past Bay Area winners of the award include:   Thomas Keller (1988), Gary Danko (1989), Ron Siegel (1999), Hubert Keller (1988), Melissa Perello (2004), Hiro Sone (1991), Lissa Doumani (1991), Nancy Oakes (1993), Traci Des Jardins (1995), Gerald Hirigoyen (1994), Lance Dean Velasquez (1996), Craig Stoll (2001), Stuart Brioza (2003), Mark Sullivan (2002), and Marsha McBride (1997).   Needless to say, this is a veritable who’s who of our local chefs.

So, keep your eye on Chef Daniel Humm in the years to come, and congratulations to him - and the others - on being named as one of F&W’s Best New Chefs in America for 2005.


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