by Tara Morgan
La Belle Vie’s Nick Duncan was in the running for Food and Wine Magazine’s People’s Best New Chef competition. Duncan was up against nine other Northwest notables, including Chris DiMinno from Clyde Common in Portland, Ore., and Shaun McCrain from Book Bindery in Seattle, Wash.
Yesterday, the chefs with the top votes were officially announced. The Northwest and Pacific regional winner for the competition was Sheldon Simeon from Star Noodle in Lahaina, Hawaii, and the top honor of The People’s Best New Chef 2012 went to Tim Byres from Smoke in Dallas, Texas.
Here’s an excerpt from Byres’ profile on Food and Wine’s website:
WHY HE’S AMAZING Because he goes beyond just barbecue, with an in-kitchen wood grill and smoke pit for smoking or curing almost every dish on the menu.
CULINARY SCHOOL Johnson & Wales University (Miami)
BACKGROUND Stephan Pyles, Mansion Restaurant (Dallas)
MUST-TRY DISH Hand-pulled all-natural whole hog, North Carolina style, which is roasted overnight.
WHAT SMELLS SO GOOD Byres smokes or cures almost all his dishes over wood, using either the mesquite-fueled wood grill and barbecue pit in the kitchen or a vintage Appalachian cold smoker out back, which uses hickory, pecan wood and charcoal.
MENU INSPIRATION Before opening Smoke in fall 2009, Byres spent the summer traveling across the South in a rebuilt VW bus, tasting regional barbecue. “Everybody wants to label barbecue styles and areas,” he says. “But wherever you go in the rural South, styles developed from availability and necessity. It’s just honest cooking.”
LOCAL FLAVORS The kitchen team planted an herb and vegetable garden behind the Hotel Belmont, where the restaurant is located.