San Francisco Magazine annually annoints a Best Chef of the year, as well as a restaurateur, a pastry chef, and a rising star. This year, rather than leave it up to the editorial team, they assembled an "academy" of 30 previous winners to vote on the prizes, and the honorees are an interesting mix of expected and unexpected names.
First off, the Best Chef(s) prize goes to the husband and wife team of Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski who have been raking in awards left and right over the last year for State Bird Provisions. The restaurant, in part for its innovative dim-sum-style service, was named the Best New Restaurant in the country last summer by Bon Appetit, leading to lines out the door for its few walk-in spots and a constantly packed reservation book. Brioza and Krasinski also took home the Best New Restaurant prize at the James Beard Awards this year, and it's clear that there's plenty of local love for them as well with this latest honor.
The Rising Star prize goes to Brett Cooper, the chef at Outerlands, who's also had his share of praise, including a Rising Star honor from the Chronicle.
Best Restaurateur goes to Oakland's James Syhabout, the man responsible for Oakland's first Michelin star in 2010 for his ambitious Piedmont Avenue spot, Commis. He also owns and operates Hawker Fare, a popular rice-bowl spot (it closed due to a vandalism incident earlier this week but reopened last night), and he's getting ready to open a third spot called Box & Bells in Rockridge that is destined for popularity as well.
Other honors went to Manresa pastry chef Stephanie Prida, and to Biondivino wine store owner Ceri Smith, who recently closed her short-lived wine bar project Et Al. Smith got the prize for "Best Booze Curator," which comes in place of the mag's usual sommelier prize, and she got props from the likes of Quince chef Michael Tusk and former Perbacco wine director Claudio Villani for her infectious passion for Italian wine and discovering small producers.