Despite Mayan prophecies gone wrong, predictions that pastry is dying, and proclamations that modernist cuisine has run its course, the culinary world didn’t collapse into complete chaos in 2012. It thrived.
In 2013, we’re expecting to see even greater things, whether it's taking artisanship to its junk food extremes, like the house-made soda from Chef Keith Garabedian at Hot Diggity. Increasingly versatile wine pairings, like the multi-layered (and multi-pairing equipped) Scheurebe, or mysterious mixologists who see cocktail inspiration in a cup of coffee (with cream, of course). And, as we noted in our 2012 trends report, restaurants are becoming more attuned to the efforts of ALL their staff members, not just the headliner chefs.
You can see some of these things, too, at this year’s StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress, now in its 8th year. Last year’s ICC was a ringing success, due no doubt to the addition of Eat@ICC food carts (they’ll be back, and more of them), the return of the StarChefs.com Somm Slam (beer will be getting a tip of the hat during the 4th Somm Slam this year), and our ever-expanding roster of amazing chef presenters (this year expect Jason Atherton, Dominique Crenn, Marc Forgione, and other industry leaders to lead demonstrations).
We’re also excited to announce the first-ever Smoke@ICC barbeque competition, which will bring the best pitmasters and meat-inclined chefs to New York City to try their ash-covered hands at crafting the most primally satisfying charred meats since mankind first rubbed two sticks together. Maybe it’s the expectation of the glorious barbeque, and of billowing smoke at our new venue (stay tuned for where ICC is going to be held), but we’re getting misty-eyed already.
We're also happy to announce that our Chefs Picks Off-the-Beaten-Path app is now free to download, and includes more delicious haunts, holes, and hidden gems than ever.
Last but not least, we’re launching the inaugural StarChefs 100, where more than 600 StarChefs.com Rising Stars will vote for the top 100 restaurants in America. We’ll be honoring the crème de la crème, the restaurants that get it perfect across the board: food, wine, booze, service, ambience, the whole gloriously transcendent gustatory package. In a phrase: the best of the best. Until 2014, that is.
And, as always, we’re canvassing four markets for our annual Rising Stars competitions. On the docket this year is Philadelphia (on February 21 at the Kimmel Center), the San Francisco Bay Area (in June), the Carolinas (in December), and—making its triumphant return—New York City (in early April). So reach out and give us your nominations for the talented young chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists we should check out in those cities. And as always, stay tuned to Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates throughout the year. It’s gonna be a good one.