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Dec 20, 2013 03:54 PM

2013 LA Chowhound Chef of the Year

I nominate Shunji Nakao

Basing my vote on my love of his food, popularity on this board, and that he's an innovator and a traditionalist both.

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  1. I would be shocked if it weren't Shunji.

      1. re: JAB

        Hahahaahahahhaah. No wonder the steaks have been so good!

          1. re: Thor123

            I thought you had left me hanging.

          1. There are a scant few of us left who have not been to Shunji's.....

            My nod goes to Chef Niki Nakayama........

            9 Replies
            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

              love shunji! but my vote would also be for Niki at n/naka!

              1. re: goldpackage

                what are some of the best dishes there?

                1. re: jessejames

                  I've been to both n/naka and shunji 3 times each this year. all fantastic meals. most memorable at n/naka: spaghetti with roe/abalone/ truffle, hairy crab, and thinly sliced a5 matsuzaka beef.

                2. re: goldpackage

                  Agreed. I've been to n/naka once this year and Shunji twice. I know I'm in the minority, but I fail to see why Shunji gets so much hype. Niki Nakayama gets my vote for cooking the best meal I had in Los Angeles this year. Very close runner up would be Craig Thornton.

                  1. re: djquinnc

                    Where is Greg? I need to check out nnaka

                    1. re: jessejames

                      Craig Thornton is the chef behind Wolvesmouth.

                      1. re: TheOffalo

                        Great name. Do the give discounts for customers in wolf tee shirts? They should. What's the best stuff there?

                        1. re: jessejames

                          They don't have a set menu. It's an underground dinner type of thing. Probably the most well known. Google Wolvesmouth or search on CH.

              2. Tony Xu
                - gives Commies with Chengdu hukou 20%
                - trades new Sichuan cookbooks for house-cured bacon
                - made David Cameron's fave dish in Chengdu available for LA.
                - imports his own foreign ingredients and indentures his mom for pickling the restauarants chilis.

                Granted the other 2 Japanese chefs mentioned have nicer knives but... Xu has a bigger wok.

                OTOH, Shunji-san has bitchin' glasses. Tough call.

                2 Replies
                1. re: TonyC


                  And according to the fearless hound Clarisses, Tony Xu did some serious time with the Panda Express Restaurant Group.

                  By the way, Tony C, what was "Dave Cameron's fave dish in Chengdu" ??????

                  1. re: kevin

                    meat balls:

                    it's on Chengdu Taste's specials board right now.