Food Industry

Best Chefs in America: A Peer Review For Chefs Names Miami's Finest Toques

There's nothing new about peer reviews. Many professions, most notably attorneys, scientists and physicians, frequently evaluate their peers in an effort to maintain a standard level of competence and acknowledge outstanding members of their field.

With the publication of Best Chefs America, add chefs to the list of professions with peer reviews. The 2013 edition, a 386-page hardcover ($75) volume, is a directory, by state, of nearly 5,000 of the best chefs in America. The book also names current food trends and the 25 most influential chefs in America.

The data for the book was complied from over 5,000 confidential telephone interviews with chefs. According to Gabe Joseph, executive vice president of Best Chefs America, the chefs interviewed were chosen from a list of thousands of chefs nominated by food writers, chefs, and culinary professionals. "We made tons of calls -- close to 70,000. Our vice president of business conducted 1,000 interviews himself. Each chef has a gatekeeper, so our toughest task was getting the initial contact. There was really nothing in it for them (the chefs) to speak with us."

Read also:
- Miami's Top Ten Chefs

Joseph explained that the interviews were conducted between March --

December of 2012 and lasted about 10-15 minutes. Each chef was asked the

same questions and were guaranteed anonymity. "We were very conscious

of that. We knew that we were asking chefs to talk about their peers.

The process had to have integrity. It's meaningful for a chef to say

that another chef can cook like nobody's business. That's what we want."

Once the interviews were finished, a proprietary software was

used to aggregate the data. The resulting information named 4,644 of the best chefs in

America -- and some surprising trends, according to Joseph. "You can put

all this stuff into a computer, but for me, after I looked at all the

data I found that the major trend was hyper-localization. Chefs want to

have more control over what they put into their dishes. The chefs we

spoke to talked about rooftop gardens, restaurant farms, even

beekeeping. There is a real desire among chefs to do things locally."

The book is available online,

with a searchable website coming soon. Each chef listed will receive a

window decal to display at their restaurant. Here's a list of Miami chefs  that made the grade:

Kal Abdalla (A Fish Called Avalon)
Jacob Anaya (Azul)
Mauricio Arana (Pied a Terre)
Timon Balloo (Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill)
Michelle Bernstein (Michy's)
Arnaud Berthelier
Andre Bienvenu (Joe's Stone Crab)
Aaron Brooks (Edge Steak & Bar)
Laurent Cantineaux (Juvia)
Nina Compton (Scarpetta)
Thomas Connell (La Cote)
Kevin Cory (Naoe)
Paula DaSilva (1500 Degrees)
Julie Frans (Essensia)
Ezio Gamba (Cioppino)
Matthieu Godard (db Bistro Moderne)
Richard Hales (Sakaya Kitchen)
Michael Hawk (Fontainebleau Miami Beach)
Cindy Hutson (Ortanique)
James King
Corey Lambert (Swine Southern Table & Bar)
Dewey LoSasso (The Forge)
Romeo Majano (Romeo's Cafe)
Jeff McInnis (Yardbird Southern Table & Bar)
Gabriel Medici
Ted Mendez (Barton G)
Jose Mendin (Pubbelly)
Sergio Navarro (Pubbelly)
Fernando Navas (SushiSamba)
Tim Nickey (La Gorce Country Club)
Pascal Oudin (Pascal's on Ponce)
Michael Pirolo (Macchialina Taverna Rustica)
Christian Plotczyk (Rosa Mexicano)
Christian Poole (Thierry's Catering & Event Design)
Giorgio Rapicavoli (Eating House)
Michael Reidt (Area 31)
Douglas Rodriguez (OLA Miami)
Philippe Ruiz (Restaurant Du Cap)
Michael Schwartz (Michael's Genuine Food & Drink)
Daniel Serfer (Blue Collar)
Sergio Sigala (Cecconi's)
Christopher Szyjka (Provence Grill)
Christian Testa (La Gloutonnerie)
Greg True (Red Fish Grill)
Peter Vauthy (Red the Steakhouse)
Bjoern Weissgerber
Kris Wessel (Florida Cookery)
Cesar Zapata (The Federal)

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss