Gary T. Menes

The Vegetable Sculptor, Chef Of The Year, 2012

Why We Picked Him: Almost instantly after it launched, the semi permanent pop-up became famous for Menes’s bravura execution of deceptively simple vegetable dishes. He served only 24 people a night at his restaurant within a restaurant (which he left in July), but the intimate arrangement allowed Menes to cook and plate the meal inches away from diners, separated only by the comptoir (that’s French for “counter”). Crop Dusting: “At this point, farm-to-table is a given. If you don’t do that, you’re not really relevant. Over and above that is your aesthetic and personality. My vegetable and fruit platter is tongue-in-cheek. It makes fun of the platters at other restaurants, which are roasted or steamed vegetables arranged haphazardly.” 

Where to Find Him: Le Comptoir