2011 may well be the year of the grassroots movement, whether that be in politics abroad or in considerably less important matters here at home. Food & Wine, which has annually named the best new chefs in the country since 1998, this year has given the vote to the rest of us. Starting today, you can vote for whomever you think should be given the title of what the magazine charmingly calls The People's Best New Chef. You can vote for your favorite of 10 nominated chefs in each of the 10 regions.
Of the 10 chefs nominated in the Pacific region, there are 4 from Los Angeles restaurants: Josef Centeno (Lazy Ox Canteen), Casey Lane (The Tasting Kitchen), Jamie Lauren (Beechwood), and Ricardo Zarate (Mo-Chica). You might want to consider that this should not simply be a popularity contest, and that ideally you should vote for the chef whose food you've eaten and whose restaurant you've frequented.
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Voting starts today, February 15, and ends March 1. You get one vote per computer per region. If you really want to exercise due diligence, you could always spend the next few weeks hitting up all four restaurants, notebook in one hand, fork in the other. Maybe end up at Chego or A-Frame, since Roy Choi won Best New Chef last year. Perhaps a little high concept, but kind of fun too.