Best Chef - 2006
Mark Militello and Allen Susser
This category was established last year as a sort of hall of fame -- win once, and you're no longer qualified. Because we have a lot of catching up to do in honoring our best chefs, from here on in we will induct two at a time. Last year's inaugural winner was Norman Van Aken, which makes Mark Militello and Allen Susser the obvious choices to follow. These three, after all, are most closely associated with rediscovering the region's bounty of fresh fish and tropical produce and resuscitating them into a vital, nationally recognized New Florida/New World cuisine. Mark has a few more restaurants, Allen a few more cookbooks, but between them they have won so many awards there is probably no room on their walls to display this one. What a slap in the face! Still, we salute the passion, integrity, charitability, and unbridled culinary talent of these two prominent pioneers, who unlike typical hall-of-famers continue to excel in their fields: Chef Allen's (since 1986), Mark's South Beach, and Mark's Las Olas (the original Mark's Place opened in 1988) are still, after all these years, counted among South Florida's elite restaurants.