As a Food & Wine subscriber, I was tickled pink to see one of Newport’s creative chefs, Jake Rojas, selected as one of 10 for best new chef (New England) of the year. My husband and I are huge fans of this restaurant . . . many people would agree, this chef is most deserving of Best new chef title.
We experienced Tallulah for the first time last year . . . prior to that, we did dine with the previous restaurateurs and thought it was good. So, walking in to Tallulah felt very familiar, decor was mostly the same, yet this restaurant felt different. Once seated, we watched a server sashay by with a plate of scallops covered in foam. Oh no, I said to my husband, this may be too pretentious for me. My culinary leanings are from the school of Alice Waters . . . kick-off the dirt and serve it fresh kind-of-girl. We made our selection from the menu, with a heads-up from our server . . . due to how the dishes are prepared; anticipate a little more time between each course. As I kicked back and swilled my wine, I scanned the book shelves behind the Bar: French Laundry, Knobu, etc., what influences chef Jake’s cooking style, I muse. I nibbled on a fresh baked brioche roll with real local (you’ll hear the word local a lot in Tallulah’s) butter, dotted in micro greens, oh this is good; I could make a meal out of this . . . than came the salads. As they were placed in front of us all I could think of was Picasso. They were so artistic, beautifully arranged, like a fine abstract painting. With my first bite, all I could do was stare across the table at my husband . . . is your salad as unbelievable as mine, I ask? And so went the glances across the table with each and every course.
This is why Food & Wine's The People's Best New Chef 2011: New England has nominated Chef Jake Rojas for best innovative Chef. Since 1998, the editors of Food & Wine have feasted their way from coast to coast, seeking out 10 innovative chefs, each with a distinctive vision, creating exceptionally delicious food. They've bestowed upon these shining stars the title of Best New Chef. This year, the dining public has a say.
In each of the ten designated regions of the country, you - yes, YOU - may vote for the chef whose restaurant has most significantly stirred your soul and your palate. The winner of the People's Best New Chef 2011 will be the subject of a profile in the July issue of Food & Wine and will no doubt hold you in tremendous gratitude and esteem until the end of time.
In all fairness, Food & Wine would greatly prefer that you only vote for chefs whose restaurants you've actually visited, so the "chef" part of The People's Best New Chef 2011 really holds true. That said, you and I know, this is not how the contest will work or be won via the Internet. If you really want to reward one of Newport’s best chefs, make a point of Dining at Tallulah, now that's a win win scenario. If you read this far, I placed a hyper-link just in case I inspired you to: VOTE FOR CHEF JAKE JOJAS, TALLULAH ON THAMES.