Chef's Choice: Meet the James Beard Award Best Chef Nominees

WWD got the five nominees for Best Chef in New York City out of their chef coats to chat about how they were feeling pre-ceremony, what they plan on wearing.

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April Bloomfield

Photo By Robert Mitra

Nominated for Best Chef in New York City 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Roaming the Union Square Greenmarket with April Bloomfield is much like attending a high school reunion as a plus one. She basically knows everyone. “Aprilllllll!” a shouty woman behind a table of ramps calls out. “How have you been? Did you move?” Bloomfield asks, surveying the leafy spread. You can see her mind crackling with ideas. (She later smoked a chicken then roasted some potatoes in the smoky fat. The ramps were served as a side with some lightly cooked chard and carrots.) Bloomfield’s Greenmarket frequency should come as no surprise to those familiar with her background. Just before opening The Spotted Pig with Ken Friedman in 2004, she spent time at Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ locavore mecca. “I feel like a kid in a candy store when I’m here,” she says later, bag of ramps tucked under her arm.

Awards show anticipation: “You never know. I’m excited but, of course, a little nervous. It’s always a blast to see my friends and colleagues all dressed up.”

Weekend look: “Casual. Simple. When you cook in a kitchen and you work long hours, the last thing you want to do is dress up, so anything that’s comfortable. I like to throw my hair back and put on my favorite jeans. Right now, I’ve got on little Scotch & Soda pants and this Banana Republic top. Everyone takes a licking out of me for wearing it. They say it’s like a picnic table.”

Greenmarket picks: Strawberry jam from Beth’s Farm Kitchen, French sourdough bread from Bread Alone and ramps from Sweet Mountain Berry Farm. “The ramps are small, supertiny and nice this year. Last year, they bolted up quite fast so they were bulbous and a bit starchy.”

NEXT: Mark Ladner >>

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