Metromix New York announces the winner of their 2009 Chef of the Year Award. Esteemed chefs who have previously won this award include: Joey Campanaro and Ryan Skeen. So what’s the dirt on this year’s winner?
And the winner is…….
Victory for Vegetarian Eats! This year’s Metromix winner is none other than the amazing Amanda Cohen, of Dirt Candy vegetarian restaurant in the East Village NYC. Amanda was chosen not as the year’s best “veggie Chef,” but at the best Chef of 2009. Period.
Veggie Girl Power. I knew I was onto something when I chose Amanda as one of my Veggie Girl Power honorees. And obviously, I’m not the only Dirt Candy customer who was impressed by Amanda’s creativity, food and hosting skills. DC leaves quite an impression on everyone who walks through its non-assuming doorway. You can read my full VGP interview with Amanda here: Amanda Cohen Veggie Girl Power interview.
Blue Ribbon Winner. Amanda has had quite an amazing year. Even with restaurants closing all over NYC this year, Amanda’s tiny little restaurant keeps packing them in. Reservations are definitely required for this hot spot, sometimes weeks in advance. And with Amanda’s many awards including this Metromix honor as well as a Rising Star Chef Award earlier this year, you can pretty much bet your grocery money that Dirt Candy will continue to make 1st place worthy fare to a filled-to-the-brim dining room. Pass the blue ribbon, we have a winner.
Eat it, then Read it. If you haven’t checked out Amanda’s Dirt Candy blog yet, boy are you missing out! The blog, which Amanda writes herself, is funny, educational, honest, interesting, mouth-watering, silly, brilliant, controversial, humble, dreamy, tweetable and oh so gosh-darn pleasurable to read. I’m always checking in with what’s ‘going on’ in Amanda’s “Dirt Candy” world. A few of my fave blog posts include:
*How to Not Open a Restaurant-series
*Why is my tofu $17?
*Reviews Reviewed: New York Times
*Red Pepper Velvet Cake
*Missing Blogger Alert (the photo)
*Kimchi Doughnuts are Here.
*Friday Night is for Party.
*The New Vegetarian Hero
Here is the official press release on Amanda’s big award:
Since opening barely a year ago, Chef Amanda Cohen has received a pretty impressive amount of popular and critical praise for her vegetable-focused casual fine dining restaurant, Dirt Candy. Her latest kudo comes as Metromix names her “Chef of the Year 2009”. Amanda Cohen is the first woman, as well as the first vegetarian chef, to receive the honor.
According to Metromix, “nobody does what Amanda Cohen does. Which is elevated, Michelin-recognized cooking that upends vegetarian clichés, ditches the sanctimonious jibber-jabber, and fries the bejeezus out of every known veggie—reminding us that in the end, it all comes down to one simple thing: flavor.”
In addition to being recognized as “Chef of the Year 2009″, Amanda Cohen was the first New York vegetarian chef to receive the Rising Star award. Dirt Candy was listed among the country’s top 10 “modern vegetarian” restaurants in Bon Appetit, and given a “Golden Egg” by Gourmet Magazine’s for “Funniest In-House Restaurant Blog.” Dirt Candy continues to be included in a number of “best-of” roundups.
Just as there are a lot of steak houses that specialize in doing wonders with steak, and seafood restaurants that specialize in serving great fish dishes, Chef Amanda works her magic to put fruits and vegetables in the spotlight.
Cohen explains that she believes “in strong, simple flavors and then layering them into a more complex experience.” Cohen’s commitment to satisfying with flavors is matched by her passion for ingredients. “Vegetables are amazing. Made out of little more than water, sunlight, and dirt they wind up growing into a candy store full of color and flavor. And that’s what I want Dirt Candy to be: nature’s candy store.”
Dirt Candy, 430 E. 9th St (Between Ave A & 1st ), (212) 228-7732