The Chicago Tribune released its 2011 Tribune Dining Awards today, crowning the city’s best chefs, restaurateurs, bartenders, and trendsetters. It’s a list that focuses far more attention on the individuals that make the dining scene happen than on the restaurants, making for a more personal and approachable list. It’s a fascinating take, especially compared to the many year-end lists that popped up last month. Like any list, there are obvious choices, and the not-so-obvious ones. We were most surprised about the pick for chef of the year.
The big winner of the issue was Anthony Martin, who just officially took over the kitchen at Tru this summer. He’s called a “master technician,” who creates plates so “visually stunning that it seems crude to disturb their perfection.” We had a look for ourselves at that precision in the fall, and can’t wait to see where Martin takes the menu next.
We are also pleased to see Charles Joly from the Drawing Room being picked as the Professional Bartender of the Year. According to the list, he “pours with a steady hand some of the finest drinks we -- and judges around the world -- have ever sipped.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Of course, not all of the list is that shocking, but that’s okay. In news that should surprise no one, Scott Harris was selected as Restaurateur of the Year, because "nothing short of cloning could account for the body of work that the indefatigable Scott Harris produced in 2010.” That’s no joke. Also, considering Phil Vettel’s “America’s Sweet Tart” title for Stephanie Izard, it makes sense that the Girl & the Goat picked up Best New Restaurant of the Year.
There’s a lot more over at the Tribune, including some dashing pictures of everyone involved. Check it out for yourself.
2011 Chicago Dining Awards [Chicago Tribune]