Just minutes ago, Food & Wine magazine released the names of the country's Best New Chefs for 2010, and Alex Seidel, executive chef/owner of Fruition, earned one of the ten coveted spots. Bryan Moscatello, the former exec of the long defunct Adega Restaurant and Wine Bar, was the last Denver toque to get a Food & Wine Best New Chef nod -- and that was in 2003.
The official announcement naming the 2010 winners will be made by Food & Wine editor in chief Dana Cowin at a celebration later tonight at the Four Seasons in New York City. According to Cowin, the Best New Chef awards, which were launched in 1988, recognize rising star chefs "with an innovative style and a distinctive vision creating exceptionally delicious food." Seidel, who opened Fruition in 2007, also owns a farm in Larkspur, where he grows his own vegetables and herbs and raises chickens and goats.
The 2010 winners will be featured in the July issue of Food & Wine and will travel to Colorado for the 28th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, June 18 to 20.
A list of all the 2010 winners, along with Seidel's Food & Wine Best New Chef profile, follows after the jump.
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Roy Choi, Kogi BBQ truck, Los Angeles Matt Lightner, Castagna, Portland, OR Clayton Miller, Trummer's on Main, Clifton, VA Missy Robbins, A Voce, New York City Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland, OH Mike Sheerin, Blackbird, Chicago John Shields, Town House, Chilhowie, VA Jason Stratton, Spinasse, Seattle, WA James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland, CA
For more on the winners, go to foodandwine.com/bestnewchefs or download the iPhone application on iTunes. To go behind the scenes at the party follow @fandw on Twitter.
2010 Best New Chef Award Profile - Alex Seidel
Born: 1973. Raised: Racine, Wisconsin.
Education: Western Culinary Institute; Portland, Oregon.
Experience: Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel, California; Sweet Basil, Vail, Colorado; Mizuna, Denver.
How he got into the food business: "After high school, I took a job at Louise's Trattoria in Milwaukee to make money, but it quickly became something I liked to do. We were using all fresh ingredients, hand-making pasta; it was the first time I saw wild mushrooms. You have to put yourself back in Wisconsin in 1991 to understand how exciting that was."
Second job/hobby: Verde Farms, in Larkspur, Colorado. "Last May, I purchased a farm. We provide greens to 25 restaurants. We also have chickens laying fresh eggs, and we're working on a sheep dairy project with a cheese-making room. It's all new learning."
Fruition's kitchen beer: Pabst Blue Ribbon. "If you go into our walk-in, nine times out of 10 there will be PBR in there. But we have other choices for our beer-geek customers, including the White Rascal from Avery; it's a Colorado brew. And some of my staff are turning into beer geeks themselves and brewing their own beer."
Local wine: "There's a local, urban winery called The Infinite Monkey Theorem. I'm not kidding. The guy produces good wine--the Syrah is probably my favorite."
Best France dining story: "When my girlfriend [now wife] and I were backpacking around France, we went to the Michelin three-star Lucas Carton in Paris. I showed up with no jacket, and at first they said no, no, no. I told them I was a chef, so finally they let us sit down, but for the first half-hour, they didn't want anything to do with us. Then I mentioned that I played soccer seriously at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and everything changed. We got a tour of the kitchen, the chef [Alain Senderens] wanted to meet me, he gave me a signed copy of his book."
Favorite cookbook: The River Cottage Meat Book, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. "I like that whole series of River Cottage books."