F&W just announced their best new chefs for 2010 and the list of winners includes Chicago's very own Mike Sheerin at Blackbird! Sheerin came to Blackbird from Wylie Dufresne's WD-50 and is clearly a chef to be watched closely. If it is any indication, the beloved Paul Kahan was bestowed the same honor at Blackbird in 1999, the first of many accolades. According to Kahan's bio:
After a brief, post-college stint as a computer scientist, Kahan took a job in the kitchen of Erwin Drechsler’s Metropolis, where Kahan quickly realized his own true calling. Throughout his 15-year apprenticeship and advancement in Drechsler’s kitchens at Metropolis and erwin, Kahan developed his own relationships with Midwestern farmers and integrated many of their offerings into dishes that he created for those restaurants, and later for award-winning chef Rick Bayless at Topolobampo.
In 1999, shortly after Blackbird opened, Food & Wine placed Kahan on their Best New Chefs list, recognizing his highly individual approach to cooking and the talent that Chicago diners have celebrated for years. Years of accolades and awards followed until, in 2007, Kahan was honored with a nomination for James Beard Outstanding Chef, an amazing achievement for a chef from a small restaurant without a cookbook or TV show to promote his name nationally. Paul earned his nomination by working five days a week in the kitchen with “his guys,” commuting year-round on his bicycle.
Image from The Publican
And NY folks, Missy Robbins at a voce also won best new chef. Have any of you been to a voce? I just might have to check it out the next time I'm in town!