In the Northeast region (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), 17 chefs, restaurants, bakeries, and bars were under consideration for national awards. Three of them made it to the nominee list:
Rachel Miller, of Nightshade Noodle Bar, is a nominee for the Outstanding Chef award. At her Lynn restaurant, she serves up tasting menus of extraordinary originality: “The food is beautiful, creative, delicious, varied, and not like anything else,” as the Globe’s 5-star review said last October. At the same time, Miller is working to reform the restaurant industry. She calls what she does “modern, sustainable fine dining” — sustainable as a business as well as for the people who work there. For example, the bill at Nightshade includes a 20 percent admin fee that is distributed between front and back of house, creating pay equity among employees. “I think there is a movement now for people like me who have a drive and built their premises from the ground up on paying everyone fairly,” she told the Globe in January.
A bit farther afield, Peruvian restaurant Coracora, in West Hartford, Conn., is up for Outstanding Restaurant. And The Quarry — where Filipina chef-owner Marilou “Lulu” Ranta creates ever-changing tasting menus in Monson, Maine — is a nominee for the Hospitality award.
The nominees for the regional Best Chef: Northeast award are:
Valentine Howell, of Krasi, the Back Bay restaurant that showcases Greek meze and wine.
Christian Hunter, of the farm-to-table, regionally focused Community Table in New Preston, Conn.
Yisha Siu, of Yunnan Kitchen, creating a home for the cuisine of Yunnan in the South End.
Renee Touponce, of the nautically themed Port of Call in Mystic, Conn. Rum, me hearties! Also specialties from Lima, Palermo, Singapore, and other ports around the world.
The winners of the Restaurant and Chef Awards will be announced June 5.