Best Chef to Come Back - 2007
He gained fame in the mid-Nineties as a cutting-edge American chef with a fondness for big, bold, barbecue-ish flavors brightened by tropical island accents. Back then Johnny Vinczencz (aka "the Caribbean Cowboy") ruled the roost at the Hotel Astor. One day the irrepressible chef packed his knife kit, picked up his South Beach stakes, and rode off to Delray Beach and De La Tierra at the Sundy House. Laid low, you might say. After some years he ambled down to Fort Lauderdale and opened a place of his own, Johnny V Las Olas, which was, and still is, successful enough that folks in Miami Beach just assumed that they'd never see V in these parts again. Old cowboys never die, though, they just become a little less Caribbean and a little more Latin as they grow older. Or at least that's the case with Vinczencz, who after seven years away has come full circle with a return to the Astor, where this time he is proprietor as well as chef and is calling his cuisine "nuevo American." Can he reclaim his spot on top from all the new kids in townç Stay tuned.