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The 2010 New York Rising Stars Award Winners and Why They Shine

by Emily Bell with Antoinette Bruno and Will Blunt
Antoinette Bruno and Vicky Wasik
August 2010

2010 New York Rising Stars

Chefs
Justin Bogle, Gilt
Marc Forgione, Marc Forgione
Jason Hall, Gotham Bar & Grill
Emma Hearst, Sorella
Brandon Kida, Asiate
Dan Kluger, ABC Kitchen
Masato Nishihara, Kajitsu
James Tracey, Craft

Community Chef
Bobby Hellen, Resto

Hotel Chefs
Markus Glocker, Gordon Ramsay at the London
Ron Paprocki, Gordon Ramsay at the London

Pastry Chefs
Angela Pinkerton, Eleven Madison Park
Jennifer Yee, Aureole

Mixologists
Jason Littrell, Dram
Brad Farran
, The Clover Club

Sommelier
Pascaline Lepeltier, Rouge Tomate

New York is our city. We live here. We work here. And when we’re not traveling, we eat and drink here, heartily. So New York Rising Stars is kind of like an exercise in hometown pride for us. After all, we’re not based in one of the greatest food cities in the world by accident. The proverbial action happens here, in the kitchens and bars that stud this metropolis like a motley culinary constellation. From prominent chefs with decades of experience, and a small empire to show for it, to innovators in the trenches of new concepts and perspectives, the New York food scene boasts as much variety as it does talent, dedication, and ambition. And for the sixth year in a row, we are eating it up.

We tasted savory, pastry, cocktails, and wine pairings from over 80 talented chefs, pastry chefs, mixologists, and sommeliers from all over New York. Only 16 earned the title of Rising Star. So what makes them shine? Creativity, ambition, exquisite presentation, and, most importantly, a stellar dish or drink win each up-and-coming culinary star the Rising Star Award.

Each Rising Star has attributes that make us believe he or she will be the future leaders of the country's culinary scene. Put simply, they’re not just surviving the New York restaurant industry—they’re thriving. So without further ado, here's an introduction to the 2010 New York Rising Stars: who they are, why they shine, and how they're shaping the future of American cuisine.

 

Executive Chef Justin Bogle - Gilt

CHEF: Justin Bogle, Gilt

Justin Bogle’s not the kind of young chef with something to prove. He’s already done it, with two Michelin stars awarded to Gilt in 2009 and a spot on our list of New York Rising Stars before the age of 30. But despite his youth and relatively recent promotion to the executive chef position, the Philadelphia-bred Chef Bogle is already making strides as a leader in the city’s culinary landscape. With a menu built on local, seasonal American products, Bogle’s dishes exhibit exquisite balance within a strong perspective, whether it’s just the right touch of acidity brightening a strip loin with rich bone marrow custard or a buttery sea urchin emulsion enriching a leek ash-coated turbot fillet. At this already luminous point in his young career, Bogle might have nothing to prove, and that’s okay, because we’re already convinced.

The Dishes that Clinched It:
- Turbot, Uni, Leeks, Celery, Apple, Madeira
- Wagyu Strip Loin, Potato Terrine, Matsutakes, Black Garlic, and Bone Marrow

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Executive Chef Marc Forgione - Marc Forgione

CHEF: Marc Forgione, Marc Forgione

Son of culinary icon Larry Forgione, Marc Forgione might have literally been born into a legacy in American cuisine, but his greatness is all his own. With formative years spent not only under his father but under industry luminaries like Patricia Yeo and Laurent Tourondel, as well as several posts in France studying classical technique and enhancing his relationship with ingredients, it’s fair to say Forgione earned his current stature the hard way. And at Marc Forgione, the chef proves he has as much discipline as imagination. “I like to bend the rules,” says the chef, “but not break them.” Forgione lets whimsy and imagination color his technique- and ingredient-driven American cuisine at his namesake restaurant, proving that Forgione “the younger” is more than capable of taking the family legacy into its next era.

The Dishes that Clinched It:
- "Baked Potato" Crème Fraîche Agnolotti, Potato Brown Butter, Pancetta, and Truffle Essence with Périgord Black Truffle
- Whole Roasted Halibut, Cauliflower Purée, Crushed Hazelnuts, and Sauce “Proposal”

 

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Chef de Cuisine Jason Hall - Gotham Bar & Grill

CHEF: Jason Hall, Gotham Bar & Grill

Jason Hall comes from an artistic family with a presence in the music and film industries. But with a move to Nashville—and an exploration of its local cuisine—Hall realized his own creative passions were better harnessed in the kitchen. Since his southern epiphany, and soon after his graduation from the CIA, Hall has been the go-to chef for culinary leaders on both coasts, from San Francisco’s Michael Mina to New York’s own Marco Canora, Michael Psilakis, Tom Colicchio, and now Alfred Portale at Gotham Bar & Grill. And their confidence is well-deserved, as dishes like Hall’s squid ink spaghetti with a lush, chili-flecked uni emulsion and milk fed veal with sweetbreads and speck testify to the young chef’s already sophisticated voice—proof of his hearty share of the family creative genes.

The Dishes that Clinched It:
- Roasted Sirloin of Organic Milk Fed Veal, Sweetbreads, Speck, Ramps, Black Garlic and Madeira “Au Poivre”
- Squid Ink Spaghetti, Golden Trout Roe, Chili, and Sea Urchin Emulsion

 

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Executive Chef-Owner Emma Hearst - Sorella

CHEF: Emma Hearst, Sorella

If the kids from The Lord of the Flies had come together in harmony and started a restaurant, things might have turned out a little bit like Sorella, where a super-young group led by Chef Emma Hearst is fast becoming one of the city’s hottest new restaurants. If Ralph, Simon and the gang didn’t fare too well, Chef Hearst and business partner Sarah Krathen have it under control, serving some of the most soulful, swagger-worthy Piemontese cooking we’ve had. True, it’s taken Hearst 20 years to get where she is today, but that’s only because she knew at the ripe old age of four that she’d be a chef. Today Hearst creates deeply satisfying, confidently rustic Italian plates with grace and apparent ease. We can only wonder what the next 20 years will bring.

The Dishes that Clinched It:
- Pâté di Fegato: Chicken Liver Mousse with Candied Bacon and Fried Egg
-Tajarin, Lamb Ragu, Black Pepper Ricotta, Pistachios, Mint

 

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Executive Chef Brandon Kida - Asiate CHEF: Brandon Kida, Asiate

The apparent incongruity of Shepherd’s Pie, traditional Japanese comfort food, and experiments in Italian and Mexican cuisine might be off-putting for some chefs, the stuff to quell culinary curiosity and push a chef into narrow menu parameters. But for Brandon Kida, the ethnic admixture of foodstuffs that characterized his LA childhood was fuel for invention and inspiration. And it’s the kind of inspiration he brings with him as chef de cuisine at Asiate, where international influences work seamlessly through his elegant but still broad-shouldered cuisine. “My cuisine is a reflection of me,” Kida says. With dishes that balance exotic and classic flavors, precise execution, and confident imagination, we think the reflection is highly flattering.

The Dishes that Clinched It:
- Rabbit and Foie Gras Terrine, Candied Rhubarb, Shiso Vinaigrette
- Buffalo Tenderloin, Polenta, Medjou Date Mole

 

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Executive Chef Dan Kluger - ABC Kitchen CHEF: Dan Kluger, ABC Kitchen

New York native Dan Kluger got his first taste of a restaurant kitchen in the house that Danny built, specifically at Union Square Café, where Kluger was first introduced to the kind of fresh, ingredient-driven creativity that would later typify his own style. The young chef went from the Meyer launching pad to work with some of the city’s top chefs, but his recent work at ABC Kitchen is what got our attention. At ABC, Kluger comes into his own, fusing the seasonality he learned early on at USC with an intuition for seasoning from his years at Tabla and igniting the whole thing with his matured imagination. The results are dishes like pretzel-crusted calamari and perfectly al dente bigoli in a meaty pork ragu, where flavors and textures, rich and light, generously intermingle.

The Dishes that Clinched It:
- Hazelnut Soft Shell Crab with Watercress and Pickled Radishes and English Cucumber
- Whole Wheat Bigoli, Pork Ragu, Parmesan, Snap Peas, Bacon, Mint

 

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Executive Chef Masato Nishihara - KajitsuCHEF: Masato Nishihara, Kajitsu

Chef Masato Nishihara is neither a Buddhist nor a vegetarian, but you couldn’t tell by eating his shojin cuisine at Kajitsu, with its exclusively vegetarian pantry built on the principles of Zen. With the kind of quiet modesty that belies intense focus, Chef Nishihara creates kaiseki dishes out of each season’s bounty. The result is both a gift to the diner and a revelation of seasonal identity. What differentiates Chef Nishihara, who learned the art and craft of kaiseki in his native Japan, from other chefs is his ability to create compositions that are both elemental and unified. The whole dish transcends the sum of its parts, but each element—whether it be a fried mountain yam or a chilled piece of nama-fu—is distinctly essential to the harmony of the whole.

The Dishes that Clinched It:
- Gomadofu with Green Peas; Treasure Pouch of Fried Bean Curd, Glass Noodles, Burdock, Carrot, Shiitake, Lotus Roots and Sesame, with Plum Fu Blossom
- Steamed Hearts of Palm and Nama-Fu with Plum Sauce

 

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Chef de Cuisine James Tracey - Craft

CHEF: James Tracey, Craft

When you can play with smoke the way James Tracey can in his pork trotters dish, it’s no surprise you come from a city called Mesquite. But smoke isn’t the only flavor this Texas native has in his repertoire. At Craft, where he became chef de cuisine in 2007, Tracey oversees the menu’s traditionally bold, clean flavor profiles with confident technique and serious imagination. Coming up through the ranks of kitchens from Dallas to DC to New York, Tracey has cultivated a profound understanding of harnessing local, seasonal product with meticulous technique and a consistent respect for clean, assertive flavors. At Craft, he showcases everything he's learned along the way, colored by his own distinctive style. The result is a serious respect for ingredients framed in creative, consistently sophisticated ways.

The Dishes that Clinched It:
- Pork Trotter & Sunnyside Up Egg
- Rouen Duck, Wild Spinach & Sweet Cherry

 

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Executive Chef Bobby Hellen - Resto

COMMUNITY CHEF: Bobby Hellen, Resto

Born in Columbia and raised stateside in Staten Island, Bobby Hellen is a CIA graduate who has plied his passion for cuisine and farm fresh ingredients on both coasts. A local chef at heart, Hellen likes to unite people over food, especially meat and well-tailored off-cuts. At his “Large Format Feasts,” Hellen likes to see strangers come together at a communal table, feast on a single animal, and leave with the shared first experience of lamb tongue or pork trotter. Hellen works for his community, bringing local elementary students to the greenmarket or tirelessly promoting his farmers and purveyors. We’re inspired by Hellen’s community spirit, but what we’re coming back for is his polished, pared-down, soul-satisfying cuisine. 

The Dishes that Clinched It:
- Wild Bass, Fingerling Potatoes, Ramps
- Lamb Neck, Pea Shoots, Syrian Aleppo Pepper, Greek Yogurt, and Lamb Jus

 

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Executive Chef Markus Glocker - Gordon Ramsay at the London

HOTEL CHEF: Markus Glocker, Gordon Ramsay at The London

Austria pulls its weight culturally, especially with Markus Glocker, a man with dual musical and culinary talents who we’re happy to say can be found right here in New York City at The London Hotel. At Gordon Ramsay, Glocker showcases the kind of precision of technique and compositional style on the plate that belies his musical training. His dishes, from a tender, precisely executed spring salad with globe artichoke and an assortment of seasonal vegetables, to tender Mediterranean sea bass in a delicate gin consommé, are a balance of the regal and demure—the kind of restrained elegance the typifies Vienna, comfortably nestled here in New York.

The Dishes that Clinched It:
- Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Cipollini Onions, Black Olive Caramel, and Aged Balsamic
- Mediterranean Sea Bass, Créme Fraîche Gnocchi, Meyer Lemon, Crispy Garlic, Tomato and Gin Consomee

 

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Executive Pastry Chef Ron Paprocki -

HOTEL CHEF: Ron Paprocki, Gordon Ramsay at The London

Pastry Chef Ron Paprocki is the kind of pastry chef who can make you laugh one minute and silence you the next, stifling the guffaw he only just induced as he presents an elegant, striking dessert that feeds the eyes as much as the appetite. His desserts exhibit the precision and discipline of European pastry technique, which he learned at the Elisabeth-Knipping Schule in Kassel, Germany, and shortly after at Café Alheit where he worked under his mentor Wolfgang Alheit. And while the polish of Paprocki’s desserts might be European, the imagination that goes into his innovative techniques and flavors—whether he’s microwaving a green tea sponge or garnishing with pineapple rock candy—is entirely his own.

The Dishes that Clinched It:
- Pineapple Crémeux with Yogurt Sorbet and “Sponge,” Vanilla Sable, Pineapple Candy
- Blueberry with Cornbread and Corn Sorbet

 

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Pastry Chef Angela Pinkerton - Eleven Madison Park

PASTRY CHEF: Angela Pinkerton, Eleven Madison Park

New York City, and specifically the four-star Eleven Madison Park, is a long way from Angela Pinkerton’s native Ohio. But Pinkerton discovered a love of cooking—and desserts—while working at a bakery in college back home, and we’re so happy that her passion and talent drove her here. That’s not to say the young chef is your typical ambitious metropolis-conqueror; she is more of a dreamer, an artisan of the imagination, and her playful, sophisticated creations at Eleven Madison Park are a reflection of a will to keep on playing with her food. With deceptively simple names like “Milk and Chocolate” or “Red Velvet,” Pinkerton gives the diner a spectrum of flavorful and textural interpretations of a thematic ingredient or flavor profile, often playing on classic Americana dessert combinations, always keeping it seasonal, lush, and elegant.

The Desserts that Clinched It:
- Red Velvet
- Variations of Milk and Chocolate

 

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Pastry Chef Jennifer Yee - Aureole

PASTRY CHEF: Jennifer Yee, Aureole

Jennifer Yee knows how to pay attention to the little things. Her professional pastry experience has included extensive mise en place, petits fours, chocolate, and high volume patisserie production, in addition to lunch and dinner service. The result is a pastry chef who balances big-picture productivity with delicate attention to detail. Yee’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture gives her an innate feel for balance and the possibilities of introducing contrast amidst harmonies. At Aureole, where Yee moved after a post as the pastry sous chef at Gilt, she deftly juxtaposes textures and temperatures without disrupting the unity of her refined desserts, which are poised in creative contrast, down to the minutest detail.

The Desserts that Clinched It:
- Chilled Watermelon Soup with Galia Melon Sorbet, Pickled Cucumber, Blueberries, and Candied Olives
- Peaches and Corn

 

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Mixologist Jason Littrell - Dram

MIXOLOGIST: Jason Littrell, Dram

Jason Littrell came up through the ranks of Manhattan’s mixology Meccas, under Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey, White Star, and Little Branch and among the dream team at Death & Co. where he adopted an overarching emphasis on the integrity of the product—be it a 12 year-old spirit or farm fresh produce. And as he muddled, shook, and stirred his way through the delicate balancing act of cocktail creation, Littrell became a voice of increasing singularity, which says a lot in a city with so many mixologists. Now Littrell has come into his own, a force behind the bar and a leader in the community, heading up the cocktail program at Brooklyn’s Dram in addition to continuing his work at Death & Co. When we first tasted with him at The Randolph, Littrell’s drinks showed serious promise. And at Dram, all it took was one sip of a drink like the exquisitely balanced North Garden—apple brandy, bourbon, peaty Laphraoig and a kiss of bitters—to make our knees buckle and our eyes water in mixo-adoration. After all, there’s nothing more beautiful than a mixologist in full command of his powers.

The Drinks that Clinched It:
- North Garden
- Behind God's Back

 

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Mixologist Brad Farran - The Clover Club

MIXOLOGIST: Brad Farran, The Clover Club

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a thousand words might be worth a career in mixology. Or at least that’s the story of Brad Farran, who earned a position at one of New York’s preeminent cocktail bars with a heartfelt letter to Julie Reiner. It must have been some letter, enough to convince Reiner, Manhattan’s mixology matriarch, to bring Farran to her staff at Clover Club. Reiner doesn’t regret the decision, and neither do any of her patrons—or us, for that matter—as Farran has tackled the mixology scene like he was born for it. Farran discovered a love of wine, and soon after cocktails, at Enoteca Vin in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the Philadelphia-born Farran worked after college in upstate New York. His nascent passion for mixology was so strong that Farran returned to the unforgiving Northern climes of his youth to work with Reiner and company, and he’s been mixing up bold, balanced, creative cocktails—and growing out his mutton chops—ever since.

The Drinks that Clinched It:
- The Strawberry Blonde
- The Leone

 

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Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier - Rouge Tomate

SOMMELIER: Pascaline Lepeltier, Rouge Tomate

It’s not uncommon that the pursuit of a philosophy degree drives a person to drink. But for Pascaline Lepeltier, the detour to wine was permanent. Driven to ask “why” by nature, Lepeltier now brings the same deep-seated enthusiasm to a bottle of wine as she would to a discourse on dialectical metaphysics. Once immersed in the world of wine, her ascent was rapid, going from assistant sommelier with a wine list of 4,500 bottles to beverage director for the Rouge Tomate group. Along the way she has won numerous awards and placed second in the Best Sommelier of France competition—the highest placement a woman has ever achieved in that ranking. Now stateside at Rouge Tomate, Lepeltier’s passion for purity and authenticity informs the largely organic and biodynamic wine list. And with a zest for wine and pairing that is lively and infectious, and an emphasis on terroir and its dynamic between the glass and plate, Lepeltier is one sommelier who’ll surely inspire higher thought with each pairing.

- For the Sommelier

 

 

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