Big Heat, 2016, is Newcity’s list of chefs, bartenders, bakers and other food producers who are, undeniably, very good and sometimes great. The best? YMMV.
Lists are fundamentally flawed in that they suggest an objectivity impossible to attain because, you know, we’re talking about taste, which is individual, subjective, difficult-to-impossible to verify.
To compile our list, we took input from leaders in Chicago food culture, people who’ve been on the list before and others in the industry. We based our decisions on those recommendations as well as upon the performance and promise of candidates. Throughout, we kept thinking of other names we wanted to include, names that one could argue should be included; yet we have space for only fifty. Some omissions may be obvious and some, arguable. Why, for instance, isn’t Grant Achatz on the list? Because Alinea is closed for re-concepting. Why aren’t dozens of other worthy men and women on this list? Because tough decisions had to be made.
A particularly painful omission was that of Jean-Claude Poilevey, chef/restaurateur of Le Bouchon and La Sardine; Poilevey died in a traffic accident shortly before we went to press. Long a member and mover of Chicago’s restaurant community, Poilevey was so much a part of the local culinary landscape that we, admittedly, lost sight of him, as did many who in the last decade or so compiled such lists. We’re not seeking forgiveness for such omissions; simply understanding.
Although you may disagree with a call this way or that, we hope that, for the most part, you agree that all the people listed here should be on the list—and, no doubt, many more. (David Hammond)
Big Heat was written by John Carruthers, Sarah Conway, Robert Gardner, David Hammond, Rebecca Holland, Monica Kass Rogers, Lauren Knight, Rosemary Lane.
Cover and inside photos: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux Read the rest of this entry »