Winners in past years include luminaries like Daniel Boulud, Nancy Silverton, Tom Colicchio, Michael Symon, Dan Barber, David Chang, and Stephanie Izard. U.S. chefs who have been in charge of a kitchen for five years or less are eligible.
According to a press release announcing the 2020 winners, the selection process goes on for months, during which the Food & Wine editorial staff culls nominations from food writers, cookbook authors, Best New Chef alumni, and others. The magazine's restaurant editor visits every restaurant on the shortlist, traveling to more than 30 cities and dining out more than 100 times, then chooses the ten honorees.
In a phone interview, Patel said he was stunned when he got the news. "It was a random call at 3:30 p.m. on a Tuesday," he says. "I was like, whoa!"
Patel, who reopened the Design District location of Ghee this week for takeout and delivery, says Food & Wine has been "awesome," providing honorees with mentorship opportunities with attorneys and industry professionals to assist in working through the issues they're facing during the pandemic. "They've been proactive for all of us," the chef tells New Times. "It's been really refreshing to know that they've been there for us."
He also offered a few words of encouragement to his fellow Miami chefs, noting, "Even people like me can get this award. Just keep focused on what you do and people will notice."
The complete list of Food & Wine's "Best New Chefs 2020" is available online at foodandwine.com.