Three local chefs, Robert Sisca, Joseph Margate and William Kovel, have been nominated for Food & Wine's second annual People’s Best New Chef award. Eater spoke to all three about how it feels. Up first, Robert Sisca of Bistro du Midi on Boylston in Back Bay, who was also nominated last year.
Were you surprised? A little bit. I wasn't sure if they were doing the award again this year and when they told me it was pretty exciting to see I was on there again.
When did you find out? I found out around early January. I had to keep it quiet.
Did they let you know why you were chosen? No, they just say you have to be an executive chef for less than five years, and Bistro du Midi is my first big executive chef position, and we've been open a little more than two years, almost two and half years now.
What do you think caught F&W's attention? I think Bistro du Midi is doing a really good job. The restaurant's started to get busier and busier each year, we won a decent amount of awards over the past two years, and I won Best Up-and-Coming Chef in Boston Magazine this past year. In terms of the region, being in New England helps, too.
Where were you before? Le Bernardin in New York City.
What's your signature dish? We have two different bouillabaisse, those are our most classic dishes because the restaurant is Southern French and Provençal cuisine, and and bouillabaisse is really classic in that region of France.
Which fish do you use for the stock? We try to get some of our bones from the Mediterranean Sea, that way it really brings out some of the classic flavors, the strong fish flavors. Right now the bouillabaisse is served with turbot, sea bass, and sometimes I'll use local fish like black sea bass or even cod depending on what the best is available at the time of year.
So what would you do if you won? I'd be very excited to win. I like Food & Wine magazine, so it's really exciting to be part of it.
For more information or to vote for a nominee, see here: http://www.foodandwine.com/peoples-best-new-chef/new-england