In a packed ballroom stuffed with some of the biggest chefs, mixologists, and other notables in the local restaurant industry Friday night at the Fairmont Chicago hotel, the 2013 Jean Banchet Award-winners were announced. Those that were in attendance took the stage and accepted their awards as flashbulbs popped. Some of the winners were surprises, others were predictable. All wore smiles befitting the evening's festive mood.
Yusho's Matthias Merges took home the evening's crown jewel, Chef of the Year, beating out Ryan McCaskey (Acadia), Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia), and Dan Pancake (Autre Monde). Zimmerman wasn't denied in another award, winning Best Restaurant for Sepia. Neither was Acadia, winning Best New Restaurant and Sommelier of the Year award for Jason Prah. BOKA took home three awards: Sarah Jordan snagged Pastry Chef of the Year, Ben Schiller was victorious as Best Mixologist, and BOKA Catering won Best Catering Company. Other winners include Blackbird's David Posey (Chef-de-Cuisine), Goosefoot's Chris Nugent (Rising Chef), Alinea (Best Restaurant Service), and Café des Architectes' Leigh Omilinsky (Rising Pastry Chef.)
The 16th-annual awards and accompanying Grand Chefs Gala benefitted the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Congratulations to the winners and who knows what surprises are in store for 2014.
· All Coverage of the Jean Banchet Awards [~ECHI~]
· Jean Banchet Awards [Official Site]