Eater Awards voting is in full swing, which means diners are choosing the best new chefs, restaurants, and more in cities across the world, from London to Montreal. There’s a reader’s choice award and an editor’s choice award in each category, and we need you to help with the former. Yesterday, eaters voted for the Restaurant of the Year in the 24 eater cities; today, it’s all about Chef of the Year.
Chefs of the Year helm the burners at restaurants that opened or went through significant revamps within the last year — that includes restaurants that opened after voting ended last year, the same way restaurants that open after voting ends this year will be in the running in 2019. Chefs of the Year are not just talented; they have brought a new culinary story to Portland, added a new layer to how Portland eats and talks about food. Now, a little about our contestants:
• Sara Hauman, Arden: A San Francisco transplant, Sara Hauman entered Portland during its grand wave of wine bar openings and captivated the Pearl with her manipulation of smoke, from an olive amuse bouche to a rose of red trout crudo.
• Karl Holl, Park Avenue Fine Wines: In a time when farm-to-table is becoming a cliche, Karl Holl’s menu at this wine shop sorta-pop-up often involves produce farmed by his brother and business partner, Alex, turned into dishes that are just as intricate as they are homey — hello, 100-layer lasagna.
• Deepak Kaul, Bhuna: Going from pop-up to restaurant in a single year, Kaul went from high-end kitchens in Massachusetts and San Francisco to open a casual, counter-service Kashmiri restaurant, digging into his personal roots and mother’s recipes to bring regional Indian cuisine to Northwest Portland.
• Gabriel Rucker, Canard: Most Portland diners are probably familiar with Gabriel Rucker, the mind behind special occasion restaurant Le Pigeon and its sister Little Bird, but his latest, Canard, brings something far more playful to his cabal of restaurants — giving the same impeccable technique to White-Castle-style steam burgers.
• Althea Grey Potter, Oui Wine Bar: Yet another wine bar chef, Potter’s New England background shines through in rowdy combinations of flavor, taking things like delicata squash and revving them up with za’atar granola, harissa, and olives. It’s like Fannie Farmer went on a backpacking trip around the world.
Choose your favorite below — the poll will be open for 24 hours, so vote now: