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Chicago’s Jean Banchet Award nominees announced

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has announced the nominees for the 2014 Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence. The awards are the only Chicago-based honor that recognizes and rewards culinary originality and talent throughout the region.

The award is named for the late famed Chicago Chef Jean Banchet, the toque behind the iconic Le Francais in north suburban Wheeling, whom the New York Times praised as “a dashing chef whose traditional French cooking helped make the Chicago suburbs a global destination for food lovers in the 1970s and ’80s.”

Winners will be announced and awards presented on Jan. 30, 2015, at the 18th Annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Grand Chefs Gala at the Fairmont Chicago, 200 N. Columbus.

Here is the list of nominees:

Chef of the Year:

Abraham Conlon (Fat Rice), Thomas Lents (Sixteen at Trump), Chris Pandel (The Bristol/Balena), Lee Wolen (Boka)

Pastry Chef of the Year:

Dana Cree (Blackbird), Claire Crenshaw (moto), Meg Galus (NoMI), Greg Mosko (North Pond)

Best Chef-de-Cuisine:

Chris Marchino (Spiaggia), Ali Ratcliffe-Bauer (Brindille), John Vermiglio (A10), Erling Wu-Bower (Nico Osteria)

Rising Chef of the Year:

Ashlee Aubin (Salero), Jake Bickelhaupt (42 Grams), Noah Sandoval (Senza), Nathan Sears (The Radler)

Rising Pastry Chef of the Year presented by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas:

Sarah Koechling (The Bristol/Balena), Genie Kwon (Boka/GT Fish and Oyster), Megan Miller (Baker Miller Bakery & Millhouse), Jonathan Ory (Bad Wolf Coffee)

Best Sommelier:

Charles Ford (The Bristol), Arthur Hon (Sepia), Elizabeth Mendez (Vera), Dan Pilkey (Sixteen at Trump)

Best Mixologist:

Alex Bachman (Billy Sunday), Bradley Bolt (Bar Deville), Mike Ryan (Sable Kitchen & Bar), Krissy Schutte (CH Distillery)

Best Restaurant Design:

Boka, Celeste, Momotaro, The Radler

Best Restaurant Service:

Boka, Embeya, Senza, Sixteen at Trump

Best New Restaurant:

42 Grams, Parachute, TÊTE Charcuterie, Salero

Best Neighborhood Restaurant:

A10, Dusek’s, Owen and Engine, La Sirena Clandestina

Restaurant of the Year:

L20, Boka, El Ideas, moto

For tickets to the gala, please visit

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