Food & Wine's Best New Chefs Awards has grown into a powerful franchise over the past 24 years. Now, in the magazine’s first foray into a long-term restaurant concept, Food & Wine is extending the highly anticipated list of up-and-coming stars to an eatery based on the concept.
Chefs Club by Food & Wine is the result of a licensing agreement between Food & Wine and the St. Regis Aspen Resort, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. The restaurant is slated to open this June to coincide with the start of the 30th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colo.
"Food & Wine and St. Regis Aspen Resort have been talking about creating a restaurant leveraging the Food & Wine Best New Chefs for some time," emailed Christina Ordovician, vp and publisher of the magazine. "Our brands share the same values when it comes to innovation and passion for the Epicurean way of life."
The restaurant reflects a growing aggressiveness by publishers to parlay their brands into new revenue sources in a tough environment for print advertising. Food & Wine will receive a licensing fee as a result of the partnership, which Grdovic would not disclose.
The “seasonally inspired, American regional” menu of Chefs Club will be developed by Best New Chefs award recipients and will rotate biannually. The first menu will be curated by past winners including George Mendes of New York’s Aldea and Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s in New Orleans. A selection of 2012 award recipients will take over for the fall/winter season.
Food & Wine's staff is also getting involved in the new restaurant. Executive wine editor Ray Isle will oversee wine pairings, while Jim Meehan, a Food & Wine contributing editor and the deputy editor of Food & Wine Cocktails, will provide a cocktail menu.