Matthew Accarrino had the daunting task of taking over the kitchen at SPQR after Nate Appleman nabbed the James Beard's "Rising Star Chef" award and left for the other coast. Not only did Accarrino rise to the occasion, but, as many say, he even surpassed Appleman's work at the Fillmore Street restaurant. And with that, today the SPQR chef was named one of Food & Wine's best new chefs of 2014.
"He incorporates secrets he learned from some of America's greatest chefs in his phenomenal updates on traditional Italian dishes," the grub and bougie-booze magazine beams in its profile. Food & Wine tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to star-making. Previous Bay Area Best New Chefs include Thomas Keller, Nancy Oakes, Josh Skenes, and Corey Lee.
This is for inclusion in their annual Best New Chefs issue, which typically comes out in July. Other honorees are as follows:
· Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston
· Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Brunswick ME
· Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton, Ox, Portland, OR
· Matthew Accarrino, SPQR, San Francisco
· Paul Qui, Qui, Austin, TX
· Eli Kulp, Fork, Philadelphia
· Ari Taymor, Alma, Los Angeles
· Dave Beran, Next, Chicago
· Matt McCallister, FT33, Dallas
· Walker Stern and Joe Ogrodnek, Dover, Brooklyn
Fun fact: Accarrino isn't new! He's been around at SPQR for years now. But to land in the Food & Wine list, you must be running your own restaurant for fewer than five years. Another fun fact? He wanted to be a professional cyclist before becoming a lauded chef. F&W notes: "Growing up, Accarrino wanted to be a professional cyclist. A tumor in his leg forced him to change his plans. He spent two years at home recovering and watching Julia Child and Jacques Pépin, and decided he wanted to become a chef." (I wonder if he remembers when Jacques and Julia cracked open a massive ostrich egg with a hammer. True fans know that bit like gospel.)
SPQR ranked #6 on SFist's The 25 Best Restaurants In The Bay Area (According to Statistics!)