Last night chefs, media folk, dining world glitterati, and a bunch of Top Chef cheftestapants gathered at the Bohemian National Hall in New York City to celebrate this year's roster of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs, listen to loud music, and snack on food provided by past BNCs including Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern), Jonathan Benno (Lincoln), Tom Colicchio, Rocco DiSpirito, and Missy Robbins (A Voce).
Read on for hangover observations, some restaurant world intel, and bits of gossip:
1) George Mendes found out about his best new chef distinction over a month ago and didn't even tell his own mother until the night before the awards. Since he was hanging with Dana, he called home and had her tell her.
2) As usual, Dana Cowin's amazing dress.
3) We heard from someone in the crowd that Gwyneth is confirmed for the June Bon Appetit cover. Not only that — Bon App will do two celeb covers every year.
4) Change of plans for Slashfood: We overheard that the website is not being merged fully into HuffPo; apparently it will live on in some fashion on its own domain.
5) Anne Burrell was an agent orange level of tan.
6) As for the venue, well, it was no Four Seasons but it was... interesting? At some points it threatened to burst at the seams with all those in attendance but there was some charm. One chef correctly noted that it reminded him of those late night Grand Prospect Wedding Hall commercials.
7) Still not confirmed: Ruth Reichl's maybe-new gig at Gilt Groupe aka Gilt Taste.
8) Cheftestapant roll call: Stephen Asprinio, Harold Dieterle, Hung Huynh, Lee Anne Wong, Zac Young, Kevin Sbraga, Angelo Sosa, and (obviously) BNC winner Stephanie Izard.
9) F&W publisher Christina Grdovic called Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga's foie gras soup the best dish of the night. Also good, Tom Colicchio's leek black bread pudding with (zomg) ramps and duck (though he showed up late and didn't actually man his booth), and Michael Anthony's Mussels, Chips, and Dip.
10) And look out world, because Danyelle Freeman aka Restaurant Girl's new book Try This drops in June and she's on a bunch of episodes of the upcoming season of Top Chef Masters.
11) Andrew Zimmern was sporting a leg injury incurred in the Amazon jungle. Said Zimmern, "Jungles are not OSHA approved."
12) The National, afterparty spot #1, could barely hold the hordes, but Geoffrey Zakarian tried his best to hand out gin mules and keep the charcuterie tray well stocked. Many a freeloading food worlder grumbled when the waiters dropped checks on the tables that ordered burgers and fries circa 1 AM.
13) Rocco DiSpirito's truck handed out diet cookies at the end. It was... an unfortunate way to end the night. Also: Rocco DiSpirito has a food truck?
14) Before the curtain was raised to announce the winners, revelers were treated to the first (and hopefully last) "hip hop opera" flash mob. Guest 50 Cent, alas, did not perform.