November means it's awards time again, and this morning the nominations for the Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence were revealed. The winners in the 13 categories will be named on Jan. 17, and they're named for the late-Jean Banchet who died in 2013 and was known for his suburban Wheeling restaurant, Le Francais.
El Ideas and Formento's scored the most nominations with three each. El Ideas' Phillip Foss earned a chef of the year nod, and his restaurant received nominations for restaurant of the year and best restaurant service. Formento's is also up for best restaurant service, and the West Loop Italian spot's Tony Quartaro was nominated for best chef de cuisine, while Steve Morgan earned a nomination for best sommelier. Boka Restaurant Group also cleaned up, as the group's restaurants received nominations in four categories, including Meg Galus for pastry chef of the year at their flagship spot.
The Banchets added two new awards: Best ethnic restaurant, while Carrie Nahebedian will take home the inaugural Banchet Culinary Achievement Award. Check out the full list below.
2015 Jean Banchet Nominees
Restaurant of the Year: El Ideas, Fat Rice, Intro, Parachute
Chef of the Year: Abraham Conlon (Fat Rice), Phillip Foss (El Ideas), Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia), Chris Pandel (Bristol/Balena)
Pastry Chef of the Year: Lisa Bonjour (mK), Meg Galus (Boka), Sandra Holl (Floriole), Chris Teixeira (West Town Bakery)
Best Chef-de-Cuisine: Dennis Bernard (Dove's Luncheonette), David Fingerman (Graham Elliot Bistro), Ed Sura (Perennial Virant), Tony Quartaro (Formento's)
Rising Chef of the Year: Ashlee Aubin (Salero), Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark (Parachute), Thomas Rice and Kurt Guzowski (TÊTE Charcuterie), Jason Vaughan (Pub Royale)
Rising Pastry Chef of the Year: Angela Diaz (Owen and Engine), Marjorie Easley (The Blanchard), Aya Fukai (Sixteen), Kelly Helgesen (Lula Café)
Best Sommelier: Nathan Adams (Boeufhaus), Jill Gubesch (Topolobampo/Frontera Grill), Elizabeth Mendez (Vera), Steve Morgan (Formento's)
Best Mixologist: Jacyara De Oliveira (Sportsman's Club), Dustin Drankiewicz (The Promontory/Dusek's/Punch House), Jason Lerner (Masa Azul), Liz Pearce (The Drifter)
Best Restaurant Design: 3 Arts Club, Cherry Circle Room, Fulton Market Kitchen, Swift & Sons
Best Restaurant Service: Boka, Billy Sunday, El Ideas, Formento's
Best New Restaurant: Boeufhaus; The Blanchard; Bom Bolla; Momotaro
Best Neighborhood Restaurant: mfk., Osteria Langhe, The Radler, Three Aces
Best Ethnic Restaurant: Andy's Thai Kitchen, Furious Spoon, Shokran, Birrieria Zaragoza
Banchet Culinary Achievement Award: Carrie Nahabedian of Naha and Brindille.