Akasha Richmond walked away with the big prize, an award for a chef who has demonstrated not only top notch kitchen skills but a dedication to community service, at last night's Live & Dine LA awards, but the focus of the evening was on LA's rising culinary stars. Hosted by Angeleno (and known in past years as Chefs' Night Out), the awards ceremony and tasting event, which benefits P.S. Arts, featured the magazine's picks for Chef of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, Best Pastry Chef, Best New Restaurant and more.
[Full list of winners and photo gallery after the jump.]
The awards were well chosen and well deserved -- except for Best New Hidden Gem, which went to Robata Jinya. It's a fantastic ramen shop and deserves plenty of praise, but "hidden"? It sits at the corner of Third St. and Crescent Heights in the heart of the Cafe Corridor, and it has been lauded by everyone from D-tier bloggers to Jonathan Gold. Next thing you know, they'll find Osama bin Laden burning trash and downloading porn in an armored compound in the middle of Pakistan.
Let's not quibble. After the awards, the best part of these events is always the party. Live & Dine LA was, essentially, a really nicely curated food festivals with very modest lines.
Favorite bites: beef rendang from Spice Table, A-Frame's mustard crab salad taco wrapped in a perilla leaf, uni shooters from Robata Jinya, radishes in "dirt" from Red Medicine, honeyed dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in speck from Savory, the peppery watermelon cocktail from First & Hope and a simple raspberry and cream dessert from Public Kitchen & Bar.
Wells Fargo Award: Akasha Richmond, Akasha
Best New Restaurant: A-Frame
Best New Dish: Porcetto at Sotto
Best New Sommelier: Helen Johannesen, Son of a Gun
Best New Chef: Jordan Kahn, Red Medicine
Best New Restaurant Design: Lukshon
Best Atmosphere: Eveleigh
Best Service at a New Restaurant: Scarpetta
Best New Pastry Chef: Joshua Graves, Ray's & Stark Bar
Best New Hidden Gem: Robata Jinya