So, you know how it's a big deal to be named a Food & Wine Best New Chef? Well a few years back the magazine added a wrinkle to its annual honor, in the form of an online contest. Every March, the magazine puts forth the names of 100 chefs around the country, divided into 10 regions. Then the onus is on these chefs to hustle online votes to be named the People's Choice Best New Chef. This year, the Northwest bracket includes four Seattle-area chefs: Chris Weber of the Herbfarm, Spur/Tavern Law/Coterie Room/Old Sage duo Brian McCracken and Dana Tough, and Hitchcock's Brendan McGill. Weber is also in the running for the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year.

It seems like chefs have a million online voting thingies to contend with these days, but this is arguably one of the most legit. Voting starts now and ends March 18.

Last year a pre-Top Chef Sheldon Simeon smoked the Northwest and Pacific category (and he's back this year? No fair), but didn't take the national title. However the list of chefs put forth for a People's Choice also seems to function as a shortlist for the Best New Chef award itself. See: Mahoney, Cormac; Wetzel, Blaine, and Franey, Jason.

Here's all the info you need to vote.


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