Magazine picks rising U.S. chefs from unexpected places

Wed Apr 4, 2012 10:53am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some of the best up-and-coming American chefs do not work in fancy restaurants in big cities. They work in less flashy settings, even on a tiny island, according to a top U.S. food magazine.

On Tuesday, Food & Wine Magazine released its 24th annual list of best new chefs and, as in past years, many of them work in big cities including New York, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco or Los Angeles.

But the magazine also gave nods to Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger of The Catbird Seat in Nashville, Tennessee which is better known for traditional Southern cooking than experimental cuisine. Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, which is located off the coast of Seattle, also made the list.

These and nine other American chefs on the list earned praises for their creative menus using local products.

Wetzel's dishes often feature wild flowers and blossoms foraged on the island, as well as seafood caught near the inn.

"People are doing simpler but delicious food that is very well thought-out," Food & Wine's editor-in-chief Dana Cowin said.

An example of Anderson's and Habiger's inventiveness is a yogurt they make that is smoked with sweet grass hay, Cowin said.

This year's eclectic list of chefs include three from New York -- Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen and Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi of Torrisi Italian Specialties.   Continued...