Today Food & Wine magazine announced this year's picks for Best New Chefs, but as our brothers in NYC point out, the City of Angels isn't even on the board. At least SoCal is represented, by the very deserved Gavin Kaysen, chef de cuisine at El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in north San Diego County.
We had the pleasure of meeting the young chef last year, who's a total charmer in person, and dining at El Biz. He blew us away. The kid's got mad skills, and his contemporary "fanatically seasonal" cuisine is the best thing going for the restaurant; it's a lovely room and all, just a tad stuffy. (They only recently got rid of the jacket rule.) But the point is, Gavin's really the star of the show there. This past January, he was the sole U.S. contender at the Bocuse d'Or World Culinary Championship in Lyon, France, which is like the World Cup of cooking. Forget Throwdown with Bobby Flay, forget Top Chef and Hell's Kitchen: The chef rigorously trained for months, like an athlete, only with amazing kitchen equipment and the highest quality ingredients he could get his hands on. (He ultimately placed 14th or something, but it's one hell of a competition.) Charlie Trotter told TIME, "I liken Gavin to the Barack Obama of gastronomic figures. He's not fully tested, yet he clearly impresses people." If Gavin came to LA, he would most certainly give our top chefs a run for their money. Huge props to him.
· Food & Wine Magazine Names 19th Annual Best New Chefs [F&W]
· Interview With Gavin Kaysen [F&W]
· To Be the Real Top Chef [Time]