Three chefs that are potential Rising Stars



If the James Beard Awards are the Oscars of the food world, then the Beard’s Rising Star accolade is the ultimate honor for a young chef.  While the Rising Star won’t be announced until the end of May, amNewYork gets a jumpstart and talks to three 30-or-under New York chefs whose talents have already left their mark.

Chef Jesse Schenker

Executive chef of Recette (328 W. 12th St., 212-414-3000)

Age: 28

Accolades: Sam Sifton of The New York Times named Recette as one of his favorite restaurants of 2010. The eatery also was named Best New Restaurant by New York magazine.

Have you always wanted to be a chef? Always. I was intrigued by menus at a very young age — I even wanted a KitchenAid for my birthday as a kid.

Is there anyone in the industry you wouldn’t mind becoming? Danny Meyer and Daniel Boulud.

Where would you like to go from here? I would like to keep learning and evolving as a chef and restaurateur. It’s impossible for me to see myself doing anything else.

Chef Will Sullivan

Executive chef of Lowcountry (142 W. 10th St., 212-255-2330)

Age: 28

Accolades: His pork sliders and cornmeal-dusted catfish won raves from New York Post critic Steve Cuozzo.

Have you always wanted to be a chef? No. My interest in cooking actually began in high school. My brother, a former chef, inspired me to pursue a culinary career.

Who has the biggest influence in your cooking? Sam McGann, chef at the Blue Point restaurant in Duck, N.C.

Where would you like to go from here? Eventually, I would like to move closer to my family in Washington D.C., but I really enjoy being in NYC.

Chef Emma Hearst

Executive chef of Sorella (95 Allen St., 212-274-9595) and the soon-to-open Stellina, to be located next-door. 

Age: 24 

Accolades: New York magazine calls her pate di fegato “undeniably delicious” and Lila Byock of The New Yorker describes the grissini (breadsticks) at Sorella as “addictive.”

Have you always wanted to be a chef? I’ve known I wanted a restaurant since I was 4. I used to play “restaurant” instead of “house.”  

Who has been the biggest influence in your cooking? When I was very little, I used to cook with my aunts. As I got older, I was lucky to have a TV in my room. I would put the TV on mute and watch Food Network until three or four in the morning — “Iron Chef,” “Two Hot Tamales” and, of course, Julia [Child]. 

How do people react when they hear your age? [When] people ask me what I do, and I tell them I own a restaurant and I am the chef there — they don’t really believe me. I try not to be involved with the drama of the New York restaurant scene. I don’t like drama — it’s not what good food is about to us. 

Tags: Eat&Dine

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