Food & Wine Strikes Back at El Jefe

Food & Wine Editor Dana Cowin responded to my post from last week about the magazine's lack of top new chefs who are either Hispanic or from Miami.

She -- and spokeswoman Lori Lefevre -- make some good points. For instance, they note the mag is a top sponsor of the South Beach Wine & Food Fest. Anyway, here is Cowin's complete response.

"Every year FOOD & WINE does its best to find the top emerging talent in the country. We rely on nominators to suggest great chefs that meet our criteria--doing innovative work and having been in charge of a kitchen/menu for 5 years or fewer. One of our most trusted nominators is in Miami and our staff is in Miami frequently, so we haven't neglected your area. We just haven't succeeded recently in identifying potential candidates. That said, we have had a few Best New Chefs from Miami--Angel Palacios in 2003; Andrea Curto-Randazzo in 2000. It also should be said that there are very talented people who we've missed, both in Miami and around the country, who, to this day, I'm amazed we didn't recognize in a timely manner. We try to feature those extraordinary chefs in issues and at our events. Michelle Bernstein is definitely one of those talents that got away."

We are always looking for new talent and are open to all of your suggestions, where they meet our criteria. I look forward to this becoming a dialog, not a one-post-stand."

Indeed, despite the virulence of my last post, I should add that Food & Wine is a solid source of information on eats. The magazine's print profiles of new chefs is due out this summer. Hopefully its future will include more recognition of the subtropics' burgeoning food scene.

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