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Five Chicago Contenders In The Race for Food And Wine Best New Pastry Chef

By Anthony Todd in Food on Feb 9, 2012 4:00PM

2012_2_8FoodandWine.png Chicago is a great city for sweets. Most food lovers, when confronted with that fact, would respond with a loud "duh," but national recognition for pastry chefs is not nearly as common as for savory chefs. The Beard Awards continue to (almost) show Chef Mindy Segal some love, but now we've done them one better. Food and Wine has, for the first time, decided to extend the annual "Best New Chefs" competition to include pastry, and Chicago p√Ętissiers dominate the Central Region nominations.

Five nominees from Chicago are among the list of 17 chefs. By the way, there are only three "regions" - East, West and Central, so "Central" takes in a lot of territory. The only other contender cities that come close are New Orleans and Austin, each with 3 chefs.

It's fun to play "six degrees of separation" with the Chicago contenders - except, in this case, it's really "six degrees of Blackbird." The current pastry chef there, Bryce Carron, got a nod, as did the former pastry chef there, Patrick Fahy (now at Cafe des Architectes). Fahy's predecessor at Cafe des Architectes, Meg Galus, is on the list too. Sarah Jordan, currently of GT Fish and Oyster, also did a stint at Blackbird. The only chef not within one degree of separation is Aya Fukai of Ria.

We're not going to pick a winner - but we want to make darn sure a Chicagoan gets this award. We're in love with Fahy's pastry, and we've seen great things from Galus and Carron - but we haven't had a chance to taste Jordan or Fukai's work. We've been monitoring the results of the voting (oh, did we mention, you get to choose the winner?) and Meg Galus was in the lead until yesterday, when Lindsey Greytak of Madison pulled ahead with 31% of the vote.

Get voting, people. And take pride in our sweet, sweet city.