StarChefs' 2006 New York Rising Stars were selected
through a vigorous editorial process. We asked on our board of advisors,
including Daniel Boulud, Bobby Flay, Todd English, Marcus Samuelsson,
and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, to recommend the brightest and best
young culinary talent in the city. StarChefs editors conducted interviews
and tastings with the nominees; after much deliberation and careful
consideration, the list was narrowed to 15 stand-out chefs, pastry
chefs, sommeliers and mixologists.
These 15 chefs push the envelope, experimenting
with ingredients, flavors and techniques. There is a compelling
philosophy behind their cooking, a thirst for knowledge and self-betterment,
and a propensity for the craft. They are ambitious and dedicated
to the field, and aware of the culinary community beyond the four
walls of their restaurant.
This year we asked our New York Rising Stars to
do something a little different: come up with an "avant-garde
street food" to serve from souped-up street carts at the gala.
We let their imaginations run wild, and we got some truly incredible
Without further ado, StarChefs presents the 2006
New York Rising Stars, and why they shine:
2006 New York Rising Stars
here for more information about the New York Rising
Stars Revue on September 20 at Crobar
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: Creative is just the starting
point for describing how Mark Andelbradt's mind works with food.
From the fizzy, CO2-charged tomatoes in his
crab salad, to the crispy burdock in the wasabi and espresso crusted
kobe, each dish takes the diner to another culinary level. Andlebradt's
cuisine is inspiring, elevated, and restrained: complex, yet never
excessive or over-adorned.
Wagyu Beef, Tokyo Scallion, Matsutake Mushroom and Spicy Miso
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: Makoto's cuisine is a modern
take on traditional Japanese food. His dish for the Rising Stars
Gala epitomizes his philosophy and style. Shikaimaki is traditionally
made with wrapped tuna, sweetened egg, Japanese cucumber, and nori
seaweed rolled into an intricate, technically precise, square sushi
roll. Makoto wraps his with prosciutto, coats it in panko and flash
Wrapped with Prosciutto di Parma
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: These days it seems that
the New York culinary scene is either about science or a chef's
ethnic roots or travels. Franklin infuses his food with unusual
and exotic ingredients, cleverly integrating goji berries and curried
pineapple into brasserie-style cuisine. Yet ultimately he keeps
it simple, serving food that is elegant and bursting with flavor.
Outside the restaurant, Franklin is active in the diabetes community.
When diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes a decade ago, he retooled his
cooking and even wrote a cookbook that addresses the dietary needs
Valley Foie Gras “Hot Dog,” Huckleberry Mustard, Onion
Confit and Brioche Bun
Brainin, Jean-Georges Restaurants
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: Everyone in New York knows
Jean-Georges by name, but few outside the food industry know Greg
Brainin by name. Brainin is the man behind the man, the executive
chef for the entire Jean-Georges Restaurant group, who
collaborates with Jean-Georges on the development of menu concepts
and proper implementation for every new restaurant project all over
the world. Most chefs think they’re pretty special if they
come up with one inventive cooking technique; Gregory has fun dreaming
them up every day.
Tuna Sashimi and Wasabi Ices
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: Subtlety and nuance are the
words that best describe Tony Esnault's is impressive French cuisine.
As with his mentor, Alain Ducasse, Tony likes to surprise guests
with flavor. His food is old-fashioned and modern at the same time,
notable for its exquisite presentation. Tony has an astute sense
of balance of flavor and nuances of flavor; dishes like bay scallops
marinated in cucumber vinaigrette and served with green apple mustard
are remarkable for the interplay of the layers of taste. He uses
infused oils to contrast the flavor of pristine, simply prepared
vegetables, accentuating and deepening their natural richness.
Lamb Loin, Apricot, Raisin and Piquillos Tajine
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: Old-world Italian tradition
and technique are delivered with humbled style and grace by this
young and talented chef. Iacopo’s culinary roots are in bread,
pastry and pasta, all of which are homemade at his restaurant on
the Lower East Side. His food is not overly complicated; take for
example Iacopo's Spinach Gnudi, a traditional dish as delightful
as it is simple. The authenticity and commitment to time-honored
techniques is impressive, and upon leaving his reastaurant you feel
like you’ve been to Italy and back.
Foie Gras Cannoli with Candied Olives and Salty, Spicy Valrhona
Xocopili Chocolate Sauce
Paul Liebrandt, Gilt
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: Paul is a molecular gastronomist
following in the footsteps of his mentor, Pierre Gagnaire. Paul’s
cooking at Gilt was some of the most exciting food in NYC
this year. Witness a goat cheese foam served tableside – the
waiter drops it into liquid nitrogen to freeze it, sets it atop
a martini glass filled with green apple gelee, then garnishes it
with truffled popcorn. Paul is an incredibly creative, calculating
risk taker. He's also an artist, and each element on the plate has
a reason to be there – namely, to excite and entertain the
diner’s mind and palate. Paul has struggled to find the right
home for his food in New York; we are confident he’ll get
Chips “2006” (a bacalao-style fritter of salt-cod and
potato with malt vinegar powder)
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: At An impeccably trained
chef born and raised in Honolulu, Tony Liu turns his upscale experience
at Lespinasse, Tabla, Daniel, Martin Berasetegui and Babbo
toward European tavern fare. The result is delicious, unpretentious
food that you'd happily eat every day for the rest of your life.
Fifty percent of the menu is from the wood burning oven, a beast
that Liu has mastered since opening in early 2004. He regularly
volunteers in Days of Taste, a program designed to educate NCY's
elementary students about where food comes from and how to make
better choices in their diets. Tony’s ambition is to own his
own restaurant and introduce more of the Asian flavors of his heritage
and Hawaiian upbringing.
over Soldiers Featuring Hook’s 10-Year Aged Wisconsin Cheddar
(a British classic – melted Cheddar Cheese spread over toasted
bread, topped with a quail egg)
Pelaccio, 5 Ninth & Fatty Crab
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: Zak’s two restaurants
reflect the distinctive facets of his culinary education and experience.
His cooking at 5 Ninth is inspired by his travels across East Asia
and Western Europe and anchored by his classical training and stints
at The French Laundry and Daniel. At Fatty
Crab, his more recent endeavor just around the corner, his
menu focuses on Malay cuisine, a tribute to his time spent traveling
and cooking in Southeast Asia. Here, Pelaccio's menu features the
feet, brains and bellies that have become just one noteworthy part
of his daring, signature style.
Brisket with Pickled Tomatoes
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: Born in the Dominican Republic,
Alex Ureña has traveled widely and worked for the greats,
including Ferran Adria in Spain and Roger Verge in France. He began
his career in New York with Charlie Palmer at the River Café,
then spent seven years with David Bouley. His food at Ureña
focuses on accessible but refined modern Spanish cuisine. The contrasting
styles of his stellar mentors are thoughtfully integrated in his
well composed dishes, marked by striking presentations and unusual
ingredient combinations. He really is one of the only chefs who
carries the mantle of Spanish Alta Cocina here in the City.
Cured Tuna with Caviar
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: As a protégé
of David Bouley, Michel Bras, and Alain Passard, Galen's cooking
reflects a bit of each of his mentors. His philosophy of flavors
is learned from Bouley; from Passard he brings a repertoire of intense
cooking techniques and an attitude of deliberateness in every aspect
of the kitchen. Like Passard, Zamarra looks to create a sense of
harmony in his dishes. Outside the kitchen, Zamarra is actively
involved in Slow Food, and is interested in sustainability and supporting
local farmers. He rallies New York chefs around fundraising events
to support New Orleans and other such causes, citing the lack of
political leadership as a serious problem, and aspiring to play
a greater role in the process.
Prok Belly Sandwich, Red Onion Marmalade and Red-Eye Gravy
Giblin, Blue Smoke
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: We all think our mother/grandmother/aunt
did it best, but we've never tasted Banana Cream Pie as luscious,
chocolate cake so moist and chewy, and sticky toffee pudding as
gooey and delicious as that of Jennifer Giblin's. We're still dreaming
about Jennifer's comforting, homestyle desserts. No shortcuts here
– even her graham crackers are made from scratch. Her confections
are superbly balanced, the result of constant tasting every step
of the way. The results are perfect renditions of classics that
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: Since his time at Papillon,
where he worked with fellow Rising Star Paul Liebrandt, to Cru,
where he teamed with 2005 Rising Star Shea Gallante, Goldfarb has
taken a lot of criticism for being too out there with his desserts.
He's found sweet revenge in Room 4 Dessert, a dessert bar that serves
as a platform for Goldfarb to experiment, play and act as the true
master of his domain. An Albert Adria protégé, Goldfarb
looks for inspiration in everything from colors to pop music. Taking
a scientific and inquisitive approach, he dreams up novel textures
for his dishes using hydrocolloids and other laborotory chemicals.
He even has his own line of these nifty stabilizers, called Will
Brigitte To-Go – a layered edible cocktail in a to-go cup!
Laiskonis, Le Bernardin
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SHINE: Michael Laiskonis' desserts
at Le Bernardin are well-crafted balances of art and science. Coming
from both savory and pastry training, his desserts are marked by
interesting textures and thoughtful integration of savory and sweet.
He pulls from various sources for inspiration; for example, his
take on olive oil and chocolate is inspired by Comerç 24
in Barcelona. Michael’s sensibilities perfectly complement
Le Bernardin's style of light, inventive, elegant food.
- A firm yuzu cream wrapped in a ginger gelée, topped with
a green tea ice and caramelized rice crispies.
Devulder: DB Bistro Moderne
MAKES THIS RISING STAR SOMMELIER SHINE: 26-year old Arnaud
has been maitre d' and sommelier of db Bistro Moderne since early
2005. He studied culinary arts in France but fell in love with the
front of the house. In 2003 he took a chance and dropped a resume
at Restaurant Daniel; he was called in 3 hours later and began training
the next day. At Boulud's most casual restaurant in NYC, Arnaud
is charged with maintaining a list that offers great value bottles
to customers, not just from France, but from Italy, Spain, US, South
Africa and Australia. He's passionate about putting some of the
lesser-known French appellations back on track, like Quincy or Reuilly,
both sauvignon blanc wines lesser known to Americans.
AT THE GALA:
Premium Wine Pairings with Each Chef’s Signature Dish
Merino, The Modern
MAKES THIS RISING STAR BAR CHEF SHINE: Junior Merino is
a versatile jack of many trades. Besides creating the drinks for
the sleek and busy bar at The Modern, he is certified from the The
Court of Master Sommelier and is a busy consultant for various spirits.
Merino's drinks are perfectly balanced and satisfy all the senses,
from visual impressions to aromatic accents. His cocktails at The
Modern reveal a constant exploration of artisan-crafted liquors
from around the world and a willingness to experiment with exotic
ingredients and new flavor profiles.
Azul Tequila Margarita
- Rhum Clement Cocktail