Category Archives: Food & Wine Magazine

New Friends

Talk about good company! I just wanted to give you guys a link to some websites and Twitter feeds for now. I’m planning on getting all of these guys really drunk in Aspen, and then I’ll have some real dirt to spill (especially on Gaudet, I’m betting he gets something pierced). For now, I hope you enjoy geeking out over their menus and websites as much as I have. They are all incredibly kind and talented, and I’m honored to be associated with them. – JV



Restaurant: Mission Chinese Food

Whereabouts: New York City, NY

“Famous” Dish: Ma po tofu with pork shoulder and Sichuan pepper

Follow Him: @dannybowien



Restaurant: Underbelly

Whereabouts: Houston, TX

“Famous” Dish: Korean braised goat and dumplings

Follow Him: @cshepherd13



Restaurant: Empellón CocinaEmpellón Taqueria

Whereabouts: New York City, NY

“Famous” Dish: Tacos of beer-braised tongue with árbol chile salsa

Follow Him: @alexstupak



Restaurant: Sea Change

Whereabouts: Minneapolis, MN

“Famous” Dish: Scallops with chicken “crumble” (fried chicken skin) and carrots three ways: blackened, as a confit and as a foam

Follow Her: @jamiemone



Restaurant: West Bridge

Whereabouts: Cambridge, MA

“Famous” Dish: “Egg in a jar”: slow-cooked duck eggs, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, potato puree and crispy duck skin

Follow Him: @GaudetMatthew



Restaurant: Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen

Whereabouts: Memphis, TN

“Famous” Dish: Corn tortellini with duck confit and chanterelle mushrooms

Follow Them: @amitaliancooks



Restaurant: ink

Whereabouts: Los Angeles, CA

“Famous” Dish: Baby turnips and radishes in a coffee-cardamom “soil”

Follow Him: @MVoltaggio



Restaurant: Aubergine

Whereabouts: Carmel, CA

“Famous” Dish: Abalone and oyster with pickled sea beans and wild sea lettuce on a braised pig’s tail cake

Follow Him: @JustinCogley



Restaurant: Jose Enrique

Whereabouts: San Juan, Puerto Rico

“Famous” Dish: Crispy fried yellowtail snapper with mashed batata (sweet potato) and papaya-avocado salsa

Follow Him: @ChefJoseEnrique

Not to mention, it’s been exactly two months since JV was in New York where he met this amazing group of chefs. With video camera in hand, he was able to capture some candid, behind-the-scenes footage at the photo shoot for the July issue of Food & Wine, in which they will all be featured. Take a look, and be sure to pick up the July issue when it hits newsstands!


Thank You

“If you will it, dude, it is no dream.”

Today I was announced as one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2013 … holy shit.

This is a moment that I’ve wondered (read: obsessed) about for close to 15 years. I can probably count on one hand the number of days over those 15 years that I haven’t thought about BNC. It is a short, distinct list, compiled by a group that has a bird’s-eye view of the American culinary landscape. And it is, as Mike Sheerin puts it, “good company to be in.”

No part of what got us here has been easy. This past year, starting with the preparation for Cochon 555 (which eventually became our bitch), hasn’t been easy. I haven’t been easy.

First and foremost, thank you to everyone at Nightwood. Thanks for making this possible. You all are the reason that the restaurant works. You guys are the heart and soul of the place. You guys are the brains and the brawn. You guys are amazing.

I can’t imagine any of this coming to be without the amazing men and women in the kitchen that I have the absolute pleasure of working with everyday. Ben, Shae, Ron, Dan, Colin, Danielle, Alex, Pedro, Mollie, Martin, Dweezil, Sarah, Smelly, Coronado, Alemi, and Katie. You guys are true professionals who know how to not take yourself too seriously. I love you guys and owe you so much. Thank you.

Thank you to John, Anna, and all of the front of the house who put up with me obsessing over this for two years … sorry, won’t happen again ;)

To Jason and Lea, Matt and Kevin — thank you for giving our “style” time to work itself out (honestly, I still don’t know what it is). I realize that the growing pains were deep, and your patience didn’t go unnoticed.

I want to say thank you to all of our past and future co-workers, even the complete boneheads (you know who you are). You all contributed to making Nightwood what it is today, and what it will eventually become … all of the stones in a path are important.

Thank you to all of the farmers who make what we do possible. Stop being late.

To the stages who never showed up. Thank you. Without you, we are, thankfully, without you.

Thanks to Rob and Allie, Jenn and David, J.P., Paul, Paul, Steph, Abra, Huston, Mike Motobike, Yoni and Jenny, Dunc, Hunter, Brady and Heather, Pandel, Mike and Pat, Poli, Thai, G.E., Merlin, Korin, Team Sawyer, Steve D., Gregger, Roberto, and all of the Chicago (and beyond) cheffy community for the love, support, and advice … I owe every one of you a lifetime of debt. Thank you.

To all of our regulars and wonderful customers, (well, maybe not the guy who got drunk and screamed at me for his soup being tepid. Danny Devito impersonator, no kidding.) — you guys are the most important part of the restaurant. Without you we have nothing. Thank you and see you soon!

To all of the chefs and business owners that I’ve worked for, and, am still learning from; to all of my friends … thank you. See, I’m not a total fuck-up!

To my parents and my pain-in-the-ass sister … I don’t know where to start. You never gave up on me. You never made me feel like I should give up on myself. I love you.

To my daughter … Daddy did something to make you proud of him.

To my wife. You’re the most wonderful woman in the world. You are absolutely nuts, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. We’ve had a crazy journey so far, and I think it’s about to get crazier. I can’t picture running toward that without your hand in mine. You’re my best friend, the love of my life, my teammate, my partner. I love you so much.

Sorry for rambling. Lotta love these days. This is crazy!!!!

Also, if you feel the need to make fun of me for this post, whiskey would be appreciated  ;)