StarChefs.com, in what can be called the definite list for talent-spotting, has announced their 2015 Rising Stars Award winners in NYC. The Rising Stars Award has been around since 2006, and over the years the list has expanded from chefs and pastry chefs to honorees in multiple categories, including coffee roasters, artisanal products producers, and designations like "Sustainability" and "Community" Chefs.
When I asked StarChefs.com Managing Editor Will Blunt about the growth of the Rising Stars Awards, he explained, "We've been adding categories organically over the years based on what we see on the ground in various markets - and as a way to recognize and encourage industry leadership in important areas like sustainability and community engagement."
Antoinette Bruno, Editor-in-Chief at StarChefs.com, spearheaded the category for artisanal producers, seeing huge growth of all things artisinal, but not a coinciding amount of recognition. Said Bruno, "The artisan awards are about passion and a skill distilled into a true expression of an individual. We took note of the artisan movement in PDX and added the award series in 2011. It's exploded around the country and we believe it's the future of the food industry."
StarChefs.com honors the Award recipients at the upcoming Tasting Gala, The Rising Stars Review. More than just an awards ceremony, The Rising Stars Review, held in NYC on February 25, and hosted by Chefs Richard Gras of Pier A House and Alessandro Caporale of Casa Lever, is a walk-around tasting (and drinking) event that's open to the public, where all the honorees present the crowd with the dishes, cocktails, wine-pairings and products that won them the award. A portion of the proceeds from the Tasting Gala goes to Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a national non-profit whose mission is to prepare under-served high school students for rewarding careers in the culinary industry.
Check out this slideshow sampling the 2015 StarChefs.com New York Rising Stars, and the creations that clinched their Awards.
Tracy Obolsky, North End Grill
Pastry Chef Tracy Obolsky, North End Grill "Almond Joy" Ice Cream Cake, Candied Almonds, Passion Fruit Curd, Coconut Meringue, Valrhona Chocolate Sauce, and Candied Almond Tuile (Antoinette Bruno for StarChefs.com)
Fred Maurer, Dickson's Farmstand Meats
Artisan Fred Maurer, Dickson's Farmstand Meats Charcuterie Board (Aliza Eliazarov for StarChefs.com)
Travis Swikard, Boulud Sud
Travis Swikard, Boulud Sud Hawaij-spiced Sea Scallops, Heirloom Cauliflower, Capers, and Pomegranate (Aliza Eliazarov for StarChefs.com)
Concept Liz Gutman and Jen King, Liddabit Sweets The Snack’r Candy Bar (Antoinette Bruno for StarChefs.com)
Matt Lambert, The Musket Room
Matt Lambert, The Musket Room Flavours of Gin: New Zealand Red Deer, Juniper Meringue, Cilantro-Celery Root Purée, Venison Jus, and Roasted Fennel (Aliza Eliazarov for StarChefs.com)
Joseph "JJ" Johnson, The Cecil and Minton’s
Community Chef Joseph "JJ" Johnson, The Cecil and Minton’s Kona Kampachi, Pickled White Cherries, Smoked Peanuts, Thai Chile-Hibiscus Jam, Bonito Tuile, African Purple Basil, and Micro Cilantro (Aliza Eliazarov for StarChefs.com)
Natasha David, Nitecap
Bartender Natasha David, Nitecap Selfie: Lillet Rosé, Bonal Gentian-Quina, Campari, Raspberry Syrup, and Sparkling Wine (Aliza Eliazarov for StarChefs.com)
Mina Pizarro, Juni
Pastry Chef Mina Pizarro, Juni Milk Chocolate Ganache, Lovage Oat Crunch, Shiny Chocolate Glaze, Toasted Oat Stout Ice Cream, Fermented Oats, and Torched Lovage Meringue (Antoinette Bruno for StarChefs.com)
Richard Kuo, Pearl and Ash
Richard Kuo, Pearl and Ash Quail Eggs, Focaccia, Trumpet Mushrooms, and Dandelion Greens (Aliza Eliazarov for StarChefs.com)
Dillon Edwards, Parlor Coffee
Dillon Edwards, Parlor Coffee Kenya Karinga (Aliza Eliazarov for StarChefs.com)
Erin Kanagy-Loux, Reynard at the Wythe
Pastry Chef Erin Kanagy-Loux, Reynard at the Wythe Carrot Pavlova, Cream Cheese Mousse, Carrot Granita, Coconut Sorbet, Carrot Coulis, Olive Oil, Micro Cilantro, Salt, and Pepper (Antoinette Bruno for StarChefs.com)