Unreal. A little restaurant on Bainbridge Island has emerged the nationwide winner of Food and Wine's online chef poll. Hitchcock chef Brendan McGill won the Northwest bracket...as well as the whole damn thing.
Last week the influential food magazine kicked off its now-annual online chef competition, wherein 10 chefs from each region marshall their troops to vote for them. I agree with others who lament that a magazine of this caliber would make such an honor dependent on having social media savvy but I am a fan of anything that puts Seattle chefs on the national radar. And the Seattle-area entries on the Northwest list (that would be McGill, Herbfarm chef Chris Weber, and Spur/Tavern Law/Coterie Room/Old Sage duo Dana Tough) were particularly astute selections.
Plus the People's Best New Chef bracket is shaping up to be a preview for who might be among the magazine's Best New Chef honorees later this year.
Unlike last year, Food and Wine kept the running tallies confidential, so you couldn't see who was in the lead. McGill says he's still a little stunned by all this, though the attention is well deserved. Hitchcock is my go-to restaurant when friends visit and want a quintessential Northwest experience; I took two out-of-towners last month and McGill's tasting menu managed to charm both an adventurous eater and a super picky one who nonetheless loves dining out. The whole "oh, yes, we take ferry rides to dinner" aspect didn't hurt, either.
Here's an interview we did with McGill last week (definitely check out the crazy story at the end) and a giant congrats to him and everyone else at Hitchcock.