Food & Wine magazine today announced their 2011 “Best New Chefs” , recognizing up-and-coming chefs nationwide. Seattle has scored again with one of its own: Jason Franey, executive chef at Canlis. While the win is news to us, it’s old news to Franey, who got the word a month ago.
“It feels good to be able to finally talk about it,” said the 33-year-old chef, chatting by phone from New York City where he and his fellow newbies are busy painting the town. “My mom didn’t even know. She’s the kind of person who’d post it on Facebook!”
Jason Franey, in the kitchen at Canlis.
Franey was also a regional winner of Food & Wine’s new “People’s Choice Award” offered for the first time this year and announced last month. He beat out a tough and talented field of contenders before he was crowned Best New Chef Northwest. Of course, he had help with that one.
Franey’s face will appear on Food & Wine’s June cover, and he’ll also join the best-chef crew at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. But today he’s busy doing the voodoo that F&B’s Best New Chefs always do: including this morning’s big photo-shoot for the magazine.
After a late-night celebration at Eleven Madison Park, where Franey worked as executive sous-chef before being recruited by Canlis in 2008, he awoke to catch a cab — only to arrive late and out of breath for the beauty-shot. His excuse? Blame it on the taxi driver.
“I lived in New York for three years and my cab never got pulled over, but today my cab got pulled over for running a stop light or something,” he told me. When, in the New York tradition, his cabbie started cussing at the cop who stopped him, Franey fleet-footed it the rest of the way. And in the tradition of “Best New Chefs” who’ve come before him, the Canlis chef’s take on his win is this:
“I never expected it. I’ve always wanted it, and it’s a dream come true. My mentor Daniel Humm got this in 2005, and all the big chefs I look up to have all won this award.”
Indeed, Franey’s in good company, both locally and nationally. Seattle’s had a great string of Food & Wine cover-boys (and girls) over the past decade, all of whom continue to make a name for themselves in Seattle today. Food & Wine offers up some fun profiles of those winners, linked here: Jason Stratton (2010), Mark Fuller (2009), Ethan Stowell (2008), Matt Dillon (2007), Jason Wilson (2006), Maria Hines (2005) and Johnathan Sundstrom (2001). Prior “Best New Chefs” include Danielle Custer (1998) and Tamara Murphy (1994).