The Jean Banchet awards are the only awards based in Chicago to celebrate the Chicago culinary industry. This past Tuesday, November 19, 2013, the nominees were announced in the Presidential Suite of the Fairmont Hotel. The nominations were presented by Michael Muser of Grace, Carrie Nahabedian of NAHA, and Catherine de Orio of Check. Please!. All of whom expressed their love and respect for Chef Banchet, renowned Chef of Le Francias, as well as, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation that the awards ceremony will benefit. All of the nominees were chosen from a public online vote, and members of Chicago’s culinary industry will choose the winners.
The 17th Annual Grand Chef Gala, presented by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, will be held on January 31, 2014 in the International Imperial Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel. The evening is sure to excite the taste buds with cocktails, and food from Chicago’s top restaurants, as well as, dinner prepared by the Fairmont Hotel Chefs.
The Nominees for the 2013 Jean Banchet Awards:
Chef of the Year: Curtis Duffy (Grace), Carrie Nahabedian (NAHA), Paul Virant (Vie/ Perennial Virant), Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia)
Pastry Chef of the Year: Lisa Bonjour (mk), Craig Harzewski (NAHA), Elissa Narow (Nie/Perenial Virant), Leigh Omilinsky (Café des Architectes)
Best Chef-de-Cuisine: Ali Ratcliffe-Bauer (Brindille), Andres Padilla (Topolobampo), Sean Pharr (NoMI Kitchen), Nicholas Romero (Grace)
Rising Chef of the Year: Thia Dang (Embeya), Nicole Pederson (Found), Tom Van Lente (TWO), Lee Wolen (formerly of Lobby Restaurant at the Peninsula Chicago)
Rising Pastry Chef of the Year: Dana Cree (Blackbird), Sarah Mispagel (Nightwood), Thomas Raquel (Acadia), Bobby Schaffer (Grace)
Best Sommelier: Valerie Cao (Grace), Chad Ellegood (NoMI Kitchen), Richard Hanauer (The Langham), Arthur Hon (Sepia)
Best Mixologist: Charles Joly (The Aviary), Paul McGee (Three Dots and a Dash), Danielle Pizzutillo (Embeya), Sergio Serna (The Drawing Room)
Best Restaurant Design: Balena, Boarding House, Brindille, Embeya
Best Restaurant Service: Balena, Grace, Nightwood, Sixteen
Best New Restaurant: Fat Rice, Found, Gather, Travelle, TWO
Best Restaurant of the Year: Acadia, Brindille, Embeya, Grace
Images by Sara Ann Manocheo