1/18/2013 10:25:00 AM

StarChefs Names Philadelphia Rising Stars for 2013

The winners; photo by Shannon Sturgis/StarChefs.com
Early this winter, representatives from StarChefs.com ate their way through Philadelphia, dining at what seemed like all of our best restaurants, interviewing chefs along the way. The tough research now over, the web magazine is out with its 2013 Rising Stars Award recipients, all of whom will all cook at a gala celebration on Thursday, February 21, at the Kimmel Center.

Out of more than 90 candidates, StarChefs.com judges picked 18 different winners in several categories, and - despite not living here - did a pretty good job of capturing the essence of Philly’s bumping food scene. Buzzy chefs like Chris Kearse (Will), Eli Kulp (Fork), Greg Vernick (Vernick) and Josh Lawler (Farm and Fisherman) are highlighted next to some less-talked-about food wranglers.

For instance, do you know who runs the kitchen at JG Domestic when Iron Chef Garces isn’t around? Yun Fuentes is his name, and he gets a solid shout out. Zahav is in the spotlight not only for Michael Solomonov as restaurateur, but also for Brian Kane, StarChefs.com’s pick for the sommelier of the year.

Check out the full list of awardees below, along with the dish they’ll serve at the gala party, and then head over to snag tickets. The event will benefit local food bank Philabundance and be hosted by chef Adam DeLosso of Garces Catering. Regular tickets are $90 and include the walk-around dinner, and VIP tickets run $115 and bring access to the awards ceremony and a special wine and caviar reception.

CHEFS
Nicholas Elmi of Rittenhouse Tavern
Seafood salad: lobster consommé, tomalley, poached lobster, sea urchin, razor clams, caviar, and apple-horseradish marshmallow

Yun Fuentes of JG Domestic
Roasted Australian lamb chop, sweetbreads, fried artichoke, and sherry jus

Chris Kearse of Will
Roasted maitake mushroom, smoked ricotta, madeira jelly, arugula purée, and wild greens

Eli Kulp of Fork
Scallop crudo, fermented parsley, beet-pickled turnips, olive oil, and lemon juice

Josh Lawler of Farm and Fisherman
Bloody beet steak, beet pan jus, yogurt, amaranth, and aged balsamic

Greg Vernick of Vernick Food & Drink
Smoked salmon belly, golden egg, and parmesan vinaigrette

Will Zuchman of Alma de Cuba
Sea scallop, king crab-corn quinoa, and merken vinaigrette

PASTRY CHEF
Peter Scarola of R2L
Pumpkin French toast sticks, oatmeal ice cream, and maple-root beer foam

SUSTAINABILITY
Andrew and Kristin Wood of Russet
Pappardelle, pig's heart ragout, crème fraîche, chanterelles, and leeks

ARTISANS
Joe Cicala of Le Virtù
Salumi board

Sara May of Franklin Fountain
Ladies’ choice ice cream soda: raspberry soda, peach ice cream, whipped cream, and raspberries

Davina Soondrum of Shane Confectionery
The Whirly Berley Bar: Soft chocolate torrone, dark chocolate, caramel, and cocoa nibs

CONCEPT CHEF
Jeremy Nolen of Wursthaus Schmitz (and Brauhaus Schmitz)
Bavarian: smoked bauernwurst, Bavarian cole slaw, horseradish sauce, and fried onions

COMMUNITY CHEF
Kevin Sbraga of Sbraga
Australian beef meatloaf, carrots, hazelnut crust, and mushrooms

HOTEL CHEF
Jonathan Cichon of Lacroix
Poached ocean trout, parsnip purée, tangerine, trout roe, fried red quinoa, and black tea vinaigrette

RESTAURATEUR
Michael Solomonov of Zahav
Spiced eggplant, harissa, beluga lentils, and garlic tehina

SOMMELIER
Brian Kane of Zahav
Featured beverage pairings with winners’ dishes

MIXOLOGIST
Al Sotack of Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.
Ocelotl: Ocho tequila, Luxardo, Pernod, green apple syrup, and dandelion-burdock bitters

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