The Best New Restaurant in America Is Le CouCou. Here's Why

By Publications Checkout
The Best New Restaurant in America Is Le CouCou. Here's Why

A panel of chefs, restaurateurs, and food journalists have selected Le CouCou as the best new restaurant in America, while Michael Solomonov won for outstanding chef and Chicago's Topolobampo was named the best restaurant that has been open for 10 years or longer.

The James Beard Foundation Awards, which were given in Chicago on Monday evening, recognise chefs, restaurateurs, wine programs, and restaurants across the US. Established in 1990, the prizes have crowned such culinary heroes as Danny Meyer, Mario Batali, and Thomas Keller. Eleven Madison Park, which was just given the title of World’s Best Restaurant by a unrelated global panel, has collected seven James Beard awards.

Like the Oscars, to which they have been compared, the Beard Awards are not free of scandal. In 2004, then James Beard Foundation President Leonard Pickell Jr. was convicted of stealing more than $1 million from the foundation following an investigation by the New York State attorney general’s office.

Currently, more than 600 culinary professionals vote on the winners across 23 food and beverage categories. (Bloomberg's food editor, Kate Krader, is on the James Beard Restaurant Committee panel.)

See the list of restaurant winners below.

Best New Restaurant - Le Coucou, New YorkA restaurant (opened in the calendar year before the award will be given) that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

Outstanding Baker - Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst, Washington, D.C

A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries, or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been a baker or pastry chef for at least five years.

Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst, Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Bar Program - Arnaud’s French 75 Bar, New Orleans

A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.

Outstanding Chef - Michael Solomonov, Zahav, Philadelphia

A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Eligible candidates must have been working as a chef for the past five years.

Outstanding Pastry Chef - Ghaya Oliveira, Daniel, NYC

A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

Outstanding Restaurant - Topolobampo, Chicago

A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service. Eligible restaurants must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years.

Outstanding Restaurateur - Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurants, Philadelphia (Le Coucou, Serpico, Upland, and others)

A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Candidates must not have won a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five

Outstanding Service - Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NYA restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.

Outstanding Wine Program - Canlis, Seattle

A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine.

Canlis, Seattle

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional - Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE Del.

A beer, wine, or spirits professional who has made a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.

Rising Star Chef of the Year - Zachary Engel, Shaya, New Orleans

A chef aged 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Best Chefs

Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region.

Best Chef: Great Lakes Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde, Chicago

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic Greg Vernick, Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia

Best Chef: Midwest Kevin Nashan, Sidney Street Cafe, St. Louis

Best Chef: New York CityMarco Canora, Hearth

Best Chef: Northeast Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME

Best Chef: Northwest Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox, Portland, OR Ore.

Best Chef: South Rebecca Wilcomb, Herbsaint, New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT) SPELL OUTHugo Ortega, Hugo’s, Houston

Best Chef: West Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco

News by Bloomberg, edited by Hospitality Ireland