Monday, March 01, 2010

Jonathon Sawyer eats everybody else’s lunch

March 1

Thanks to a groundswell of Jonathon Sawyer fans, the executive chef of The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland dominated in last week’s poll, in which I asked you to cast your own vote among semifinalists in the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef awards.

Indeed, the young chap, who I must say made a breathtakingly delicious clam chowder at an IFEC event I attended awhile back, took 43 percent of all of the votes.

He was followed by Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, with 14 percent of the votes, and Sonja Finn of Dinette in Pittsburgh, with 10 percent.

Rounding out the list of five who would make it onto the short list of finalists if the Beard Award judges vote the way Food Writer’s Diary readers did are Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s in New Orleans, who got 5 percent of the votes, and Timothy Hollingsworth of The French Laundry, who got 4 percent.

Now, was this a plot on the part of Greenhouse Tavern patrons, or possibly workers, to stuff the ballot e-box for Jonathon? Almost certainly — my readership from Ohio jumped significantly last week.

But other restaurants could have done the same thing. They did not.

A total of 85 people participated in the poll. Full results can be found below.

Now on to what I think is the other important James Beard Foundation chefs and restaurant award — best new restaurant.

The other awards are nice to win, but they tend to include a revolving door of favorites, replaced after a time by the protégés of the favorites. But best new restaurant you can only win once. Voting has begun. Click on a button on the long column on the upper right hand part of this page.

Poll results:
Who would you pick from the James Beard Foundation's list of semi-finalists as rising star chef?

Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland: 37 (43%)

Kevin Gillespie, Woodfire Grill, Atlanta: 12 (14%)

Sonja Finn, Dinette, Pittsburgh: 9 (10%)

Sue Zemanick, Gautreau's, New Orleans: 5 (5%)

Timothy Hollingsworth, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.: 4 (4%)

Will Gilson, Garden at the Cellar, Cambridge, Mass.: 3 (3%)

Johnny Monis, Komi, Washington, D.C. 3: (3%)

Sam Gorenstein, BLT Steak at the Betsy Hotel, Miami Beach, Fla.: 2 (2%)

Charles “Chip” Roman, Blackfish, Conshohocken, Pa.: 2 (2%)

Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon, Portland, Ore.: 2 (2%)

James Rugile, Venue Bistro, Denver 2: (2%)

Josh Adams, June, Peoria Heights, Ill.: 1 (1%)

Justin Basye, Stella Sola, Houston: 1 (1%)

Casey Lane, The Tasting Kitchen, Venice, Calif.: 1 (1%)

Grégory Pugin, Veritas, New York City: 1 (1%)

Justin Aprahamian, Sanford, Milwaukee: 0 (0%)

Benjamin Bailly, Petrossian, West Hollywood, Calif.: 0 (0%)

Vanessa Garcia, Restaurant Charlie at the Palazzo, Las Vegas: 0 (0%)

David Gilberg, Koo Zee Doo, Philadelphia: 0 (0%)

Carly Groben, Proof, Des Moines, Iowa: 0 (0%)

Colin Hazama, Kauai Grill at the St. Regis Princeville, Kaua‘i, Hawaii: 0 (0%)

Perry Hoffman, Etoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon, Yountville, Calif.: 0 (0%)

Matthew Lightner, Castagna, Portland, Ore. 0: (0%)

Joshua Smith, A Mano, New Orleans: 0 (0%)

Lee Styer, Fond, Philadelphia: 0 (0%)

Sameh Wadi, Saffron Restaurant & Lounge, Minneapolis: 0 (0%)


Kate said...

love to write in for best new restaurant:
Bistro du Midi/Boston, MA
It just opened in late Nov/early Dec so just missed reviews, etc in that could very well be why it missed the long list here...but worthy of a shout-out!

Joe Harvey said...

Ok, I might have promoted both Jonathon Sawyer (Ohio) and Sonja Finn (Pittsburgh) on facebook and twitter and via my sites...but...traffic is traffic right? Awesome blog!

Nancy Heller said...

Jon Sawyer is a very talented fellow - his clams and foie gras deserve an award just for that dish! Greenhouse Tavern has some amazing eats and drinks - so any ballot stuffing is understandable. But hopefully not why he turned out where he did - as John Housemann used to say - he EARNED it.

Bret Thorn said...

Hey, if a chef can get people to stuff ballots for him, he's either a good chef or has shallow friends. I've had Jonathon's food, so I know he's a good chef.

Joe Harvey said...

Well said Nancy! With nods from Bon Appetit and now James Beard, he's doing something right. Nothing shallow about the support from local Clevelanders! Just another reason we're #happyincleve