Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Announces the Nominations for the Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence

logo-goldencity-smallThe Cystic Fibrosis Foundation today announced that on Friday, January 30, 2015, the winners of the Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence will be presented at the 18th Annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Grand Chefs Gala at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park.  

The Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence is the only Chicago-based honor that recognizes and rewards culinary originality and talent throughout the region. Forty-eight exceptional chefs, sommeliers, mixologists and restaurants will vie for the annual Chicago awards, and the nominees include:

Chef of the Year:

Abraham Conlon (Fat Rice), Thomas Lents (Sixteen at Trump), Chris Pandel (The Bristol/Balena), Lee Wolen (Boka)

Pastry Chef of the Year:

Dana Cree (Blackbird), Claire Crenshaw (moto), Meg Galus (NoMI), Greg Mosko (North Pond)

Best Chef-de-Cuisine:

Chris Marchino (Spiaggia), Ali Ratcliffe-Bauer (Brindille), John Vermiglio (A10),  Erling Wu-Bower (Nico Osteria)

Rising Chef of the Year:

Ashlee Aubin (Salero), Jake Bickelhaupt (42 Grams), Noah Sandoval (Senza), Nathan Sears (The Radler)

Rising Pastry Chef of the Year presented by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas:

Sarah Koechling (The Bristol/Balena), Genie Kwon (Boka/GT Fish and Oyster), Megan Miller (Baker Miller Bakery & Millhouse), Jonathan Ory (Bad Wolf Coffee)

Best Sommelier:

Charles Ford (The Bristol), Arthur Hon (Sepia), Elizabeth Mendez (Vera), Dan Pilkey (Sixteen at Trump)

Best Mixologist:

Alex Bachman (Billy Sunday), Bradley Bolt (Bar Deville), Mike Ryan (Sable Kitchen & Bar), Krissy Schutte (CH Distillery)

Best Restaurant Design:

Boka, Celeste, Momotaro, The Radler

Best Restaurant Service:

Boka, Embeya, Senza, Sixteen at Trump

Best New Restaurant:

42 Grams, Parachute, TÊTE Charcuterie, Salero

Best Neighborhood Restaurant:

A10, Dusek’s, Owen and Engine, La Sirena Clandestina

Restaurant of the Year:

L20, Boka, El Ideas, moto

This year, the nominating process featured a panel of judges who were chosen to aid in the selection of the nominees.  The Banchet Awards Committee worked, in conjunction with the online voting, to finalize the four selections for each category. Online voting occurred from Oct. 13 to October 26, 2014.  More than 6,200 votes were cast for the nominees. The winners for each category will be selected by those within the culinary industry, via secret ballot voting.

After reviewing the publicly chosen selections, the Awards Committee believed it necessary to bring back the “Best Neighborhood Restaurant” category.  The panel said that “every year the landscape of the Chicago culinary scene changes and we felt it was important to properly recognize the local restaurants that made an impact in 2014.”

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Greater Illinois has honored local chefs for the past 14 years, and the Grand Chefs Gala is The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Greater Illinois’ largest fundraiser. The Foundation anticipates raising more than $600,000.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease affecting 30,000 children and adults in the United States.  The respiratory system and the digestive tract are both compromised by CF, making involuntary activities like breathing and eating extraordinarily difficult for these patients on a daily basis. In 1955, children with CF usually did not live long enough to attend elementary school. Today, because of Foundation-supported research and care, patients are living into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

Click here to learn more about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Grand Chefs Gala.  For more information on CF and what the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is doing to find a cure, click here.