Chef of the Year, 2013



Ignacio Mattos (left) and Dominique Ansel (right)
Stein nominates Estela’s Ignacio Mattos (left) while Ozersky goes with cronut king Dominique Ansel (right).


Stein’s pick: One of the pleasures of watching Floyd Mayweather fight is how well he adjusts mid-fight. It’s a tough thing to do, to let go of one strategy and embrace another. Ignacio Mattos flamed out at Isa back in 2012. His food there was too weird, brilliant yet remote. After a brief hibernation, he opened Estela with Thomas Carter as a changed chef. Still brilliant, but now accessible, Mr. Mattos’ ability to evolve, to realize he could be true to his own vision while altering it, earns him Chef of the Year.

Ozersky responds: You could say the same for Tiger Woods. Isa was so bad that Mattos was bound to do something better. He’s certainly neither the first nor the last chef to bounce back from a doomed project. 


Ozersky’s pick: If this category goes to the man who defined the year gastronomically, you have to hand it to Dominique Ansel; no one is going to remember The Elms or Ivan Ramen 10 years from now, but the cronut has secured its place in New York history, for better or worse.

Stein responds: Domenique Ansel of cronut fame might have made the most headlines this year, it’s true, but import and quality has rarely been best measured by point size or amount of ink spilled. He’s a tremendous pastry chef who had a very good idea. Chef of the Year? Pas de chance.


  Chef of the Year, 2013