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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Mark Ladner

Photo By George Chinsee

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

“I feel so out of place,” Mark Ladner murmurs in his deep, gravely voice. The executive chef is standing in the sprawling kitchen of Del Posto, the Italian spot he co-owns with Joseph and Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali. He’s wearing a cozy cashmere sweater, medium-washed jeans, shiny silver high-tops and quirky spectacles. It’s a perfectly calibrated mix of hipster and normcore. “I’m usually dressed like these guys back here,” he says motioning over to his sous chefs in their whites. “With the little hats and everything.” Del Posto is the latest eatery Ladner has opened with Batali and Joseph Bastianich (others include Lupa Osteria Romana and Otto Enoteca Pizzeria) since the three met in the mid-Nineties. He’s been serving rustic Italian fare at Del Posto since it opened in 2005. Of his nomination, Ladner simply says, “I’m thrilled out of my mind.”

Weekend look: “Urban utilitarian. Today I’m wearing a vintage Scottish cashmere from eBay. EBay’s the best for cashmere. You can find super deals. These jeans are from the Jean Shop. Shoes are Common Projects. I really like them and Y-3 for shoes.”

Costume change: “There’s this like Mister Rogers moment every day when I change out of my regular clothes and into my chef coat. It gets me ready for the day.”

Go-to home dish:
“One-pot wonders. With space issues like we all have in New York City, I try not to make the apartment too hot. So you don’t feel like you survived a sweat lodge for your dinner.”

NEXT: Michael White >>

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