Jason Vincent Named One of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs

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Jason Vincent winning the national Cochon 555. Photo: Galdones Photography

Chicago usually, but not always, has a spot on Food & Wine's annual list of the Best New Chefs. But this was a hard year to handicap— the biggest openings of the year were largely from chefs who had already been on the list, such as Curtis Duffy, Stephanie Izard or Mike Sheerin. So this might have been a rebuilding year for us— if not for a little neighborhood restaurant, pretty much instantly beloved by Chicagoans but little known to out of towners, who were unlikely to stumble across it on South Halsted. Well, unknown until its kickass chef won the national Cochon 555 competition in 2012, that is, and left out of towners suddenly scrambling to find out about this four-year-old place in the best modern tradition of Chicago porkophilia. And so today Jason Vincent of Nightwood was announced as one of the ten best new chefs (new being new to the national food conversation, really) a tribute to his straightforward yet seriously delicious cooking, sparked by some time at Arzak in Spain but honed at Chicago's just-about-original farm to table restaurant, Lula Cafe (whose owner Jason Hammel also owns Nightwood).

Read his writeup here, and see the others here; watch his Key Ingredient episode from 2011, in which his ingredient was duck tongues, below.