The official announcement has come down from New York--Canlis chef Jason Franey is one of the Food & Wine's Best New Chefs 2011. The news, hinted at yesterday in a tweet from Dana Cowin, the magazine's editor, is just the latest in an onslaught of admiration for the venerable Seattle restaurant.
Not to say the award isn't a big deal for Franey, or the restaurant's third-generation owners Mark and Brian Canlis. The Brothers Canlis took to the city with sandwich boards and a photographer earlier this year in an effort to win Franey the brand new People's Choice component of the Best New Chefs awards. He ended up winning the Northwest category and put on a mighty fine pop-up restaurant along the way.
While Franey and Canlis have known about the honor for a month, he apparently even kept it a secret from his mom, for fear she would do what moms do in this day and age--put it on Facebook. He came to Canlis from Manhattan's Eleven Madison Park and is back in NYC this week for a photo shoot with his fellow Best New Chefs that will grace the cover of Food & Wine's July issue.
The clue that pointed to Franey's selection was the rather obscure. Not too many people on the Twitters made the connection between "Pac Man Argonaut" and Franey. Greek mythology nerds will recall that the original argonauts sailed with Jason in the ship Argo to capture the golden fleece. And the "Pac Man", we presume, is a nod to the Pacific Northwest.
A Seattle chef has been part of the Food & Wine Best New Chefs every year since 2005. Back then it was Maria Hines, and since then we've seen Jason Wilson, Matt Dillon, Ethan Stowell, Mark Fuller and Jason Stratton take the honor. Stratton, by the way, was one of the few people who successfully deciphered yesterday's clue.
· @fwscout [Twitter]
· @spinasse [Twitter]
· Best New Chefs 2011 [Food & Wine]
· Jason Franey, Pop-Ups, and Canlis--The LOST of Seattle Restaurants [Seattle Weekly]
· Food & Wine's 2011 "Best New Chef": Jason Franey of Canlis [Seattle Times]
Seattle's Canlis's Enigmatic Campaign For Best New Chef [Eater National]
[Photo via Food & Wine]