The Cities the Best Young Chefs Call Home

Timothy Hollingsworth dish

It's called the Oscars of the culinary world.

Every year, the James Beard Foundation Awards honor the best chefs, restaurateurs and food critics. But the awards are more than a medal: winning has the opportunity to change the course of a chef's career.

Brett Anderson, the restaurant critic for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the volunteer chair of the James Beard Restaurants & Chef committee, said that receiving a James Beard award or nomination is a very valuable resume line.

"In general," Anderson told ABCNews.com, it's "... a sign of what they have accomplished and the value of their food. Historically, the James Beard Awards have been very good at pinpointing and identifying the best restaurant chefs in the country."

The medal that has the most weight in changing someone's career is the Rising Star Chef of the Year award, which, according the Foundation's Web site, is given to a chef under 30 years old who is likely to make a significant impact on the culinary industry in the future.

"Winning can be an incredible boost to someone's career," Anderson said. "Right now they may be working in restaurants owned by other people and this could help them in moving forward and opening their own restaurant."

Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, who doesn't vote for any of the awards, told ABCNews.com that not only will this help someone's career, it also gives regular diners an idea of where to get a great meal.

"You really can't get a better recommendation than a chef or restaurant that has been nominated or won a James Beard Award," Urgaro said.

ABCNews. com looked at the background and restaurants of the five young chefs nominated for the Rising Star award and located some fun things to do and see around their restaurant. And we also found out their signature dishes to further tantalize your taste buds.

Sue Zemanick

Bio: Zemanick started her culinary career at the age of 15, working various jobs in multiple fine-dining restaurants in Pennsylvania. She went to the Culinary Institute of America and developed a love for seafood, which brought her to New Orleans. Her first job in the Big Easy was at the famous Commander's Palace. She then moved to Gautreau's, worked her way up the ranks and was promoted to executive chef in 2005.

Restaurant: The food served at this locale is French-inspired and includes many classic New Orleans flavors. The restaurant is a converted antique drugstore that still has the original apothecary cases which now act as wine cases. The menu includes delicacies like foie gras with poached pear, duck confit on a spinach salad and roasted squab served with fettuccine. The dessert choices include hearty dishes like chocolate cake with banana cream and warm apple cake with coconut cream cheese ice cream.

Critics View: "Sue cooks with confidence and finds inspiration from flavors all around the world," Anderson said. "When you eat this food it is shocking to see this young woman emerge from the kitchen because the food is so refined."

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