Food & Wine Names Catbird Seat's Habiger and Anderson Best New Chefs for 2012



Every year Food & Wine magazine singles out 10 people as the year's Best New Chefs. This year, thanks to a couple of co-chef teams, there are 12 on the list, and Nashville's own Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger of The Catbird Seat have landed among the esteemed ranks.

The honorees were announced this afternoon prior to a gala party tonight in New York.

Go here to check out profiles F&W put together on Anderson and Habiger, where we learned that Thomas Keller helped Anderson crack apricot pits one day at the French Laundry, and Habiger likes Nashville's combo of big-city and small-town aspects.

Hats off to our guys! (In fact, Anderson reveals in the interview that he detests hats on in the kitchen.) This is a really big honor. Past winners have included the aforementioned Keller ('88), Rick Bayless (’88), Tom Colicchio (‘91), Dan Barber ('02) and Stephanie Izard (‘11).

Read the full announcement after the jump.


Up-and-Coming Culinary Talents Celebrated At New York City Event

New York, NY (April 3, 2012) – Dana Cowin, editor in chief of FOOD & WINE, will announce the winners of the 24th annual FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs award this evening during a party at The Liberty Theatre in New York City. This prestigious award recognizes talented chefs with a unique culinary vision. The 2012 winners will be featured in the July issue of FOOD & WINE and will also attend the 30th anniversary of the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen on June 15-17. For more information on the winners go to or download the FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs iPhone application on iTunes.

"It is such a delight to honor these incredible chefs, who have made a tremendous impact on the culinary world in a short period of time,” Cowin says. “They’ve created truly pilgrimage-worthy restaurants, whether on a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest or in the heart of New York City’s NoLita.”

2012 F&W Best New Chefs

Erik Anderson & Josh Habiger The Catbird Seat, Nashville, TN
Mario Carbone & Rich Torrisi Torrisi Italian Specialties, New York, NY
Danny Grant RIA, Chicago, IL
Dan Kluger ABC Kitchen, New York, NY
Corey Lee Benu, San Francisco, CA
Jenn Louis Lincoln Restaurant, Portland, OR
Cormac Mahoney Madison Park Conservatory, Seattle, WA
Bryant Ng The Spice Table, Los Angeles, CA
Karen Nicolas Equinox, Washington, DC
Blaine Wetzel The Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA

Best New Chefs are chosen after a months-long selection process. The magazine works with restaurant critics, food writers and other trusted experts around the country to identify outstanding chefs who have been in charge of a kitchen for five years or fewer. Then the editors travel incognito to taste the food themselves.

Several F&W Best New Chef alumni will prepare signature dishes at this evening’s event: Daniel Boulud of Daniel (‘88); Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern (‘02); Shea Gallante of Ciano (‘05); Gavin Kaysen of Café Boulud (‘07); Matthew Lightner of Atera (‘10); and George Mendes of Aldea (‘11). BRAVO’s Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais will also be prepping tastings at the event. Starbucks Coffee, Gallo Winery, All-Clad, Belvedere Vodka, Delta Airlines, Fiji, Godiva, and Stella Artois are the evening’s sponsors. To go behind the scenes at the party, follow @fandw on Twitter and join the conversation with #bestnewchefs.

As America’s talent-seeking epicurean magazine, FOOD & WINE has awarded the Best New Chef title to superstars including Thomas Keller (‘88), Rick Bayless (’88), Tom Colicchio (‘91), Dan Barber (‘02) and Stephanie Izard (‘11).

For more information on past winners, visit

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