Sunday, January 29, 2012

Banchet Winners Announced For 'Best Chef,' 'Best Mixologist' & More

Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish & Oyster and Sepia's Josh Pearson.

It was a big night Friday for Chicago's restaurant community as the annual Grand Chefs Gala took place at the Fairmont Hotel.

Benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the event attracted many of the city's heaviest hitters for the prestigious Banchet Awards, which rewards top talent on the local dining scene.

In addition to the awards ceremony, restaurateurs Jimmy Bannos and Scott Harris were presented with the Founders Award. That achievement honors those who have significantly affected lives in a charitable or humanitarian way. Bannos and Harris also own The Purple Pig, which took home the Peoples' Choice award.

Here are the Banchet nominees and winners (which are indicated by **):

Chef of the Year: Ryan LaRoche, NoMI Kitchen; Dan Pancake, Autre Monde; **Giuseppe Tentori, GT Fish & Oyster; Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia

Pastry Chef of the Year: Bryce Caron, Blackbird; Meg Galus, NoMI; **Amanda Rockman, The Bristol; Cindy Schuman, Sepia

Best Chef-de-Cuisine: **Dave Beran, Next; Sean Pharr, NoMI; David Posey, Blackbird; Brian Runge, Graham Elliot

Rising Chef of the Year: Chris Curren, Blue 13; Danny Grant, RIA; **Chris Macchia, Coco Pazzo; Paul Dobroski, Everest

Rising Pastry Chef of the Year: Aya Fukai, RIA; **Sarah Jordan, BOKA; Stephanie Mazzone, Coco Pazzo; Kady Yon, Pump Room at Public Chicago

Best Sommelier: Scott Harny, Eno at the Intercontinental; **Michael Muser, Peninsula Chicago; Dan Pilkey, RIA; Aaron Sherman, NoMI

Best Mixologist: Stephen Cole, Barrelhouse Flat; Lynn House, Blackbird; Debbi Peek, The Bristol; **Josh Pearson, Sepia

Best New Restaurant: Autre Monde; GT Fish & Oyster; **Next; Vera

Best Neighborhood Restaurant: Autre Monde; **The Bristol; Maude's Liquor Bar; Vera

Best Fine Dining: Blue 13; Coco Pazzo; **Next; Sepia

Best Catering Company: BOKA Catering; Catering by Michaels; Entertaining Company; **Limelight

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