As I’ve alluded in my sidebar over there on the left, I’ll be journeying into the Crescent City in less than two weeks for a 10-day po-boy and gumbo bender. As such, I haven’t been the prolific blogger recently that my readers have come to know and love. Like an athlete training for a key event, it is now time for me to back off and rest up, so that I’m able to eat five square meals per day while I’m in New Orleans. In the meantime, I’d like to do a little campaigning on behalf of a friend who’s recently been nominated as one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs for 2011. That person is none other than Perry Hoffman, executive chef at Domain Chandon’s Etoile restaurant.
Some folks may know Perry as America’s youngest Michelin-star chef, which is how he is touted by Food & Wine Magazine. But for me, I’ll always consider Perry to be the most talented chef that I’ve ever had an opportunity to cook alongside. It’s 100% true. And I’ve told many people the exact same thing in real life, especially as I’ve recommended that they visit Etoile for dinner. When I was cooking at Auberge du Soleil, Perry was one of my sous chefs, and even though I was relatively green back then (fresh out of the CIA), Perry’s innate talent was not only obvious to me, but to everyone else in the kitchen (even for those with egos too big to admit it).
Of course, with the voting for Food & Wine’s competition, Perry ranks alongside several great local chefs. The “Pacific” division is, in fact, loaded with lots of Napa and Napa-bred talent. I love to see that, but I also have no problem taking sides in this small valley. Perry certainly didn’t ask me to do any campaigning for him here, and I doubt that he’ll do much campaigning of his own. It’s really not his style, but I’ll go ahead and shill for some votes on his behalf. And if you need a reason to vote for Perry, let me promise you that he is probably the most even-tempered person in the competition, really genuine and without pretense, even in the kitchen.