Chefs Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley of Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland are in the running for the title of “The People’s Best New Chef,” in an annual contest run by Food & Wine magazine.
The dining public will be able to vote for one of 100 outstanding chefs or chef teams from 10 regions around the country until March 18. The winner will be announced March 19 and featured in the magazine’s July issue.
Taylor and Wiley, who are also co-owners of Hugo’s restaurant in Portland, are the only chefs from Maine who have been nominated this year.
Dana Cowin, editor of Food & Wine, often visits Portland to scope out its restaurants. She ate at Eventide in August, said Arlin Smith, the restaurant’s general manager. When her list of “Best New Restaurants 2012” came out in December and Eventide made the cut (along with Petite Jacqueline in Portland), Smith said, “we thought it was going to end there.”
Food & Wine’s editors write that Taylor and Wiley made the list of best new chefs “because their restaurant combines the best of old-school Maine oyster bars with updates like cleverly flavored sauces (kimchi ice) and fried oysters served in steamed buns, Korean style.”
The People’s Best New Chef nominees are allowed to campaign for votes, and the Eventide group is taking the challenge seriously º kind of. They produced a humorous, professionally done video for their website, with a link that goes to the contest’s voting page.
The video is patterned after an Obama campaign video, and includes shots of the chefs kissing babies, shaking hands and otherwise acting like culinary politicos. Smith said they just “wanted it to be fun.”