John Mariani's unabashed affinity for Luce's Dominique Crenn continues in full force. As rumored, after naming her a rising star last year, Esquire has named Crenn its 2008 Chef of the Year (of America!), with the following heavy proclamation:
Named last year as a "Chef to Watch," Crenn is now taking home the grand title. If you meet Crenn – and there's a good chance she’ll come out of the kitchen to ask how you enjoyed your evening – you'll realize her refined elegant menu is a reflection of the woman herself .. we doubt that there is a better woman cooking in America right now.
We don't doubt that Crenn is very talented (and congrats are surely in order), but still, Chef of the Year is curiously high praise were it in San Francisco alone, let alone the entire country ... Elsewhere in Mariani's World, Spruce and Plumed Horse were among the best new restaurants, and—how's this for random—Chez Papa's Mina Biaz was named Hostess of the Year (of America!). Continue with your incredibly puzzled looks.
· Esquire Magazine Names the Best New Restaurants of 2008 - Official [Cleverley's]
· Mariani Picks a Surprise Top Newcomer, Hates Your Beets [~ESF~]