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2013 LA Chowhound Chef of the Year

jessejames Dec 20, 2013 03:54 PM

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. n
    ns1 RE: jessejames Dec 20, 2013 04:46 PM

    I would be shocked if it weren't Shunji.

    1. JAB RE: jessejames Dec 20, 2013 05:43 PM

      Sergio at the Stinking Rose.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JAB
        ns1 RE: JAB Dec 20, 2013 05:51 PM

        Hahahaahahahhaah. No wonder the steaks have been so good!

        1. re: JAB
          Thor123 RE: JAB Dec 24, 2013 12:15 PM

          Plus 1

          1. re: Thor123
            JAB RE: Thor123 Dec 24, 2013 01:26 PM

            I thought you had left me hanging.

        2. steve h. RE: jessejames Dec 20, 2013 07:37 PM


          1. d
            Dirtywextraolives RE: jessejames Dec 21, 2013 04:50 PM

            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
              goldpackage RE: Dirtywextraolives Dec 21, 2013 09:04 PM

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

              1. re: goldpackage
                jessejames RE: goldpackage Dec 21, 2013 09:35 PM

                what are some of the best dishes there?

                1. re: jessejames
                  goldpackage RE: jessejames Dec 21, 2013 10:03 PM

                  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.

                  1. re: goldpackage
                    jessejames RE: goldpackage Dec 21, 2013 10:10 PM

                    ready for a late nite snack now

                2. re: goldpackage
                  djquinnc RE: goldpackage Dec 22, 2013 08:41 AM

                  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
                    jessejames RE: djquinnc Dec 22, 2013 09:00 AM

                    Where is Greg? I need to check out nnaka

                    1. re: jessejames
                      TheOffalo RE: jessejames Dec 22, 2013 11:08 AM

                      Craig Thornton is the chef behind Wolvesmouth.

                      1. re: TheOffalo
                        jessejames RE: TheOffalo Dec 22, 2013 11:27 AM

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

                        1. re: jessejames
                          TheOffalo RE: jessejames Dec 22, 2013 11:36 AM

                          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. TonyC RE: jessejames Dec 23, 2013 11:49 AM

                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
                  kevin RE: TonyC Dec 24, 2013 04:25 PM


                  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
                    TonyC RE: kevin Dec 25, 2013 11:19 AM

                    meat balls: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world...

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

                2. g
                  goldpackage RE: jessejames Dec 24, 2013 12:06 PM

                  I liked this post. surprised it hasn't gotten more traction. seems like something most would want to weigh in on.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: goldpackage
                    barryc RE: goldpackage Dec 25, 2013 11:46 PM

                    how do you qualify/quantify a CH chef? if they're *that* good, they can charge a premium that probably takes them out of typical CH price range. seems to me that first you need to define the weight classes IMO.

                  2. k
                    kevin RE: jessejames Dec 24, 2013 04:24 PM

                    Shunji too.

                    or maybe the Chef at Tacos Puna Cabras.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kevin
                      TheOffalo RE: kevin Dec 25, 2013 11:46 AM

                      Which one?

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