10 RI Chefs Among Honorees as Providence Hosts Rising Star Chef Awards for Coastal New England

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Region’s Chefs to Shine Bright at Tasting Gala on April 15, 2014

PROVIDENCE, RI– StarChefs.com™, the award-winning restaurant industry trends magazine, announces its 2014 Coastal New England Rising Stars Awards, honoring up-and-coming chefs and culinary professionals, who represent the vanguard of the contemporary American dining scene. From Portland, Maine and Dover, New Hampshire to Cape Cod and Rhode Island, the StarChefs.com team visited more than 150 chefs and artisans across 25 cities and small towns.

“The New England Coast is the place to go to be close to the land, sea, and real food people. Chefs and artisans are opening single-minded restaurants and concepts, and the community has their back,” said Antoinette Bruno, Editor-in-Chief of StarChefs.com.

The winners will be showcased at the StarChefs.com Rising Stars Gala on Tuesday, April 15, at the Providence Biltmore Hotel, beginning with an awards ceremony at 6:30pm and followed by a tasting gala from 7pm to 9:30pm. The walk-around tasting gala will give attendees the opportunity to experience 20 of Coastal New England’s top chefs and restaurants with beverage pairings and cocktails by the winning sommelier and bartenders, in one location for one night only.

“With its vibrant, close-knit professional culinary community, Providence (and greater Rhode island) is a fitting host for this celebration of the region’s next generation of market leaders,” says Will Blunt.

General Admission is $95 per person. VIP tickets are $125 and include a private VIP reception with Champagne and Petrossian Caviar, beginning at 5:45pm. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to Rhode Island Community Food Bank, a nonprofit that provides food to people in need and promotes long-term hunger solutions. Tickets can be purchased at www.starchefs.com/risingstars.

More than 150 candidates in Coastal New England were considered through in-person tastings and interviews. The 2014 StarChefs.com Coastal New England Rising Stars Award winners are:


Chefs Tyler Burnley and Chad Hoffer of Thames Street Kitchen (Newport, RI)
Featured Dish: Australian Beef Carpaccio, Sunflower Seeds and Shoots, Garlic Confit, and Pickled Mustard Seeds

Chef Chris Fischer of Beach Plum Inn & Food (Martha’s Vineyard, MA)
Featured Dish: Blue Fish Belly Crudo, Smoked Sea Salt, Lemon, and Arugula

 Chef Mayumi Hattori of Straight Wharf (Nantucket, MA)
Featured Dish: Casoncelli, Spring Greens, Snap Peas, Prosciutto, Goats Milk Ricotta, and Grana Padano

Chef Evan Hennessey of Stages at One Washington (Dover, NH)  
Featured Dish: Glazed Berkshire Pork Leg, Wheat Berries, Sunchokes, Pickled Mushrooms, and Orange 

Chef Matt Jennings of Farmstead Inc. (Providence, RI)
Featured Dish: Ham and Pickles: Cured and Smoked Pig Leg, Pickled Vegetables, Conpoy, and Curry Vinaigrette 

Chef Ravin “Bas” Nakjaroen of Long Grain (Camden, ME) 
Featured Dish: Australian Beef Panang Curry, Roasted Red Peppers, Bamboo, and Coconut Cream 

Chef Jake Rojas of Tallulah on Thames (Newport, RI)
Featured Dish: Miso-Harissa-Maple Pork Belly, Slow Egg, and Togarashi-spiced Fried Brussels Sprout Leaves

Chef Dan Sauer of 7a Foods (Martha’s Vineyard, MA)
Featured Dish: Asparagus Melt with Fontina, Roasted Garlic Aïoli, Basil, Pickled Red Onions, Dried Blueberries, and Focaccia 

Chef Patrick Soucy of Ceia Kitchen + Bar (Newburyport, MA)
Featured Dish: Braised Goat, Basil-infused Goat Yogurt, Wheat Berries, Violet Blossoms, Beet-Brunet Mousse, and Bee Pollen 

Chef Ben Sukle of birch (Providence, RI)
Featured Dish: Warm Butternut Squash, Melted Leeks, Squash Seeds, Marjoram, and Brown Butter-Shellfish Bouillon

Chefs Andrew Taylor and Michael Wiley of Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo’s (Portland, ME) 
Featured Dish: Lobster Sashimi, Sea Beans, Daikon Radishes, Frozen Ramp Purée, Ginger-Scallion Sauce, Nori Vinaigrette, and Fried Garlic 

Chef Justin Walker of Earth at Hidden Pond (Kennebunkport, ME)
Featured Dish: Fried Oysters, Wood-fired Padron Pepper Relish, Bacon, and Sage


Community Chef

Chef James Mark of north (Providence, RI)
Featured Dish: Burmese-style Roasted Cabbage, Peanut Brittle, Apple, Fermented Chile-Maple Dressing, and Mint

Hotel Chef

James Hackney of Twenty-Eight Atlantic at Wequassett Resort and Golf Club (Cape Cod, MA)
Featured Dish: Poached Sole, Orleans Mussels, Black Quinoa, Watercress Broth, Black Truffles, and Herbs

Sustainability Chef

Chef Derek Wagner of Nick’s on Broadway (Providence, RI)
Featured Dish: Fluke Crudo, Apples, Radishes, Pickled Cranberries, Kumquat, Grapefruit, and Herbs

Pastry Chefs

Melissa Denmark of Gracie’s (Providence, RI)
Featured Dish: White Japanese Yam Custard, Maple Pecans, Brown Butter Shortbread, Pomegranate Jam, Crème Fraîche Ice Cream, and Wood Sorrel

Ilma Lopez of Piccolo (Portland, ME)
Featured Dish: Chocolate Budino Crostata, Candied Hazelnuts, Maldon Sea Salt, and Vincotto


Ian Cappelano, Peter Kobulnicky, and Mike Lingwall of Foremost Baking Company (Providence, RI)
Featured Dish: Baguettes and Assorted Breads

Eli Cayer of Urban Farm Fermentory (Portland, ME)
Featured Drink: Ginger Kombucha


Bennett Coffey and Kyleen Keenan of Not Your Sugar Mamas (Martha’s Vineyard, MA)
Featured Dish: Be Local Raw Chocolate Bars


Nathan Sanborn of Rising Tide Brewery (Portland, ME)
Featured Beer: Daymark American Pale Ale



Will Pratt of Tandem Coffee Roasters (Portland, ME)

Eric Lepine of New Harvest Coffee Roasters (Pawtucket, RI)


Andrew Volk of Portland Hunt & Alpine Club (Portland, ME)
Featured Drink: Fratelli Stinger: Laird’s Applejack, BrancaMenta, Bourbon, Angostura Bitters, and Lemon Peel

Jay Carr of Eddy (Providence, RI)
Featured Drink: Orange Julius Caesar: Shellback Caribbean Rum, Bols Yoghurt Liqueur, Lime Juice, Vanilla, Bittermens Orange Cream Citrate, and Orange Peel


Tanya McDonough of Straight Wharf and Ventuno (Nantucket, MA)

Beverage Pairings with Winners’ Dishes



Nancy Batista-Caswell of Caswell Restaurant Group (Newburyport, MA)


Host Chef

Kevin Hale of Providence Biltmore Hotel (Providence, RI)
Featured Dish:  Roasted Australian Lamb, Vadouvan Curry, Saffron-Basmati Rice, Aleppo Pepper Asparagus, and Cilantro-Mint Aïoli

A number of additional awards highlight special talents, including:

  • Mixology Award, presented by Hobart
  • Rising Stars Art of Presentation Award, presented by Steelite International
  • Mentor Award, presented by Vitamix

Supporters of 2014 StarChefs.com Coastal New England Rising Stars Awards

Meat & Livestock Australia, Steelite International, Winebow Inc., Rhône Valley Wines – Costières de Nîmes, Hobart, Vitamix, Winston Industries, Brewery Ommegang, Valrhona, Fresh Origins, Chef Works and VerTerra. Local partners include Providence Biltmore Hotel, the Providence Journal, Providence Warwick CVB, Providence Journal, Bacaro Restaurant, The Dorrance, Johnson & Wales University, and The Rhode Island Community Food Bank


The Rising Stars Awards recognize up-and-coming chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, and artisans from around the country that represent future leaders of the national culinary scene. Candidates are nominated by the StarChefs.com Advisory Board, previous winners, local media and thorough editorial research. Winners are chosen by the StarChefs.com editorial team.


StarChefs.com™ has been serving the restaurant industry since 1995. Its mission is to catalyze culinary professionals’ success and give them the tools they need to overcome their specific professional challenges.


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