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JBF Award Winners: New York City

James Beard Foundation · New York Top 10 Guide · created about 3 years ago

Since 1991 the James Beard Foundation has been honoring the best chefs and restaurants in the country with the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards. For this guide we asked past JBF Award winners from our regional Best Chefs in America categories about the food at their own restaurants. They told us, in their own words, what their favorites dishes are and which foods best represent their culinary style.

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    Pork Buns at Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York, NY

    Chang’s pork buns—delicate steamed dough filled with melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, sweet hoisin, and crispy cucumber and scallions—helped launch Momofuku mania. “For better or worse,” says Chang, “if it wasn’t for the Momofuku pork bun, I wouldn’t be where I am today, writing this recommendation.”

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    “Peking” Duck at Bobo in New York, NY

    Patrick Connolly won the 2008 award for Best Chef: Northeast for his work at Radius in Boston but he’s now at the helm of Bobo in New York City. His version of Peking duck, composed of Stone Church Farm Normandy duck leg, Swiss chard leaves, pickled Swiss chard stems and radishes, cilantro, and foie gras rouille, is a crowd pleaser. “It’s spicy, crispy, fatty, light, creamy, and acidic all in one dish,” raves Connolly.

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    Honey and Lavender–Glazed Whole Roasted Duck at Eleven Madison Park Restaurant in New York, NY

    Daniel Humm’s menu format at Eleven Madison Park is truly unique. Listing only the principal ingredients, the menu allows both the chef and diner to customize the eating experience. There is just one thing that you can always order from the 2010 Best Chef: New York City’s kitchen—the whole roasted honey-lavender glazed duck. Carved tableside, the crispy skinned duck is served with garnishes that change seasonally.

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    Chorizo-Crusted Cod with White Coco Bean Purée and Harissa Oil at The Modern in New York, NY

    Gabriel Kreuther, who was named Best Chef: New York City in 2009, likes to direct Modern diners to this cod because of its unique crust. “Chorizo is now being used on many menus,” Kreuther says. “But in our dish we use it in a subtle way to underlie and enhance the other flavors, which are more delicate.”

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  • Squab and Foie Gras Croustillant with Caramelized Ginger Jus and Farm Vegetables at The Modern in New York, NY

    Modern twists on French classics, that’s how Kreuther explains his cooking style and this dish is a perfect representation of it. “We wanted to revisit squab with a multicultural spin, so the result is a sort of French-Asian spring roll, with very refined elements and beautiful ingredients.”

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    Rice Cakes at Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York, NY

    David Chang, who took home the Best Chef: New York City award in 2008 always recommends the rice cakes to diners at the Ssäm Bar. “Somehow,” Chang explains, “this dish takes influences from Asian and European cuisines and turns it into something that is very New York.”

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