Who Would Star Chef Dan Kluger Rather Cook For, Obama or Adele?

mediabistro.com’s Jessica Eule attended last night’s Food & Wine 2012 Best New Chefs in America event

The lights and tourists of Times Square seemed a little more four-star last night, as Food & Wine magazine held its 24th annual Best New Chefs celebration. Master chefs including Daniel Boulud (a Best New Chef in 1988), Gavin Kaysen (2007), and Michael Anthony (2002), had to make their way past a Ripley’s sword swallowing demonstration and a waxed Morgan Freeman welcoming visitors to Madam Tussauds to get to the red carpet event at The Liberty Theatre, which is oddly nestled under an Applebee’s.

The location didn’t dampen the mood, where drinks flowed freely and accompanied dishes including bone marrow with braised ox cheek, courtesy of Top Chef all-star Richard Blais and enjoyed by guests including Geoffrey Zakarian, Scott Conant, Curtis Stone, Marcus Samuelsson, and recent Top Chef winner Paul Qui, who could not speak with us “without clearance from Bravo”.

ABC Kitchen chef Dan Kluger and his wife, Hannah

We did get a chance to talk with Dan Kluger, chef of ABC Kitchen and one of this year’s award winners. It’s been a banner year for Kluger, who in addition to winning Best New Chef also had the chance to serve President Obama during a recent fundraiser at ABC Kitchen.

“It’s apples to oranges,” Kluger said when asked which experience was more intimidating. “Obama’s dinner was nerve-wracking and tiring. This was humbling and inspiring,” he said of his win. “Serving the President was an honor. Tonight was honorable.” So did the Commander-in-chief have any odd menu requests? “That I can’t reveal,” Kluger said, “but I can say we stayed true to the food of ABC Kitchen.”

So who could possibly top the President of the United States as a dinner guest? “(Singer) Adele,” said Kluger, without hesitation.

The rest of the Best New Chefs, and more pictures, after the jump…

2012 Food & Wine Best New Chefs
Erik Anderson & Josh Habiger – The Catbird Seat, Nashville, TN
Mario Carbone & Rich Torrisi – Torrisi Italian Specialties, New York, NY
Danny Grant – RIA, Chicago, IL
Dan Kluger – ABC Kitchen, New York, NY
Corey Lee Benu – San Francisco, CA
Jenn Louis Lincoln – Restaurant, Portland, OR
Cormac Mahoney – Madison Park Conservatory, Seattle, WA
Bryant Ng – The Spice Table, Los Angeles, CA
Karen Nicolas – Equinox, Washington, DC
Blaine Wetzel – The Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA

Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern), Shea Gallante (Ciano), George Mendes (Aldea), Christina Grdovic (Food & Wine VP/Publisher), Gail Simmons, Matthew Lightner (Atera), Gavin Kaysen (Café Boulud), Richard Blais (Top Chef All-Star winner)
Top Chef All-Star winner Richard Blais preparing his bone marrow dish