[Photos: Daniel Krieger]
Yesterday evening chefs and people who do things in the world of restaurants walked into a Dave & Buster's in New York City. They had to do that to enter the historic Liberty Theatre, where Food & Wine was holding a ceremony and boozy gathering to fête its 2012 class of best new chefs.
Read on for hangover observations and a bit of restaurant world intel.
1) Grant Achatz, who appeared at the IACP conference earlier this week, stuck around NYC to make an appearance at the party. He had marathon meals at NoMad and Per Se on this visit.
2) Benu's Corey Lee found out about the award less than a month ago.
3) Questlove was guest DJ, but there were no signs of Aziz Ansari.
4) Harold Dieterle is making great progress on his new restaurant The Marrow and is now shooting for a fall opening.
5) There were tons of dapper people, but Jean-Georges Vongerichten and business partner Phil Suarez may have outshined them all.
6) Also on the sartorial front: Marcus Samuelsson wore gold sneakers, and his colorful plaid scarf was of the same pattern as his bow tie.
7) Food & Wine editor Dana Cowin thinks Bryant Ng is the sleeper entry of 2012. Most obvious: the Torrisi boys.
8) As usual, she was very, very happy to be there.
9) Somewhat massive fried chicken drumsticks were among the passed hors d'oeuvres.
10) Not overheard at any point during the evening: "Let's head on over to Dave and Buster's."
11) Atera chef Matt Lightner did not charge $150 for his bite of yogurt and beets. It was precise and insanely tasty.
12) After the main event concluded, many headed over to The NoMad for some pre-after party festivities in the restaurant's Library. There were drinks, seafood towers, and Ed Levine. No hidden liquor bottles were found.
13) The real after party was at David Rabin's Double Seven, over in Meatpacking, where old French Laundry pals John Fraser and Corey Lee got a chance to hang. People danced. There was Diana Ross playing at several moments. Also: Talking Heads' "And She Was."
14) George Mendes definitely didn't buy anyone shots.
15) Other notable appearances throughout the evening: Danny Meyer, Daniel Boulud, an assload of Top Chef cheftestapants (among them Kevin Sbraga, Mike Isabella, and Ilan Hall), Joshua Ozersky, Eater co-founder Ben Leventhal, Johnny Iuzzini, Stanley Tucci, Jordana Rothman, and Alfred Portale.