March 16-22, 2006
Eats : FoodTop 5 Rising Stars
1 Chris Lee
Striped Bass, 1500 Walnut St., 215-732-4444
Within the last 10 months, 30-year-old Lee's received a James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef award and the coveted "Fourth Bell" from the Inky's Craig LaBan. Why? Because along with creating Philly's most inspired fish menu, Lee dedicates himself to little details, like his faux caviar, and the cotton candy-like cinnamon "clouds" he dissolves into squash soup.
2 Sae An
Cork, 90 Haddon Ave., Westmont, N.J., 856-833-9800
The Philly Restaurant School grad who worked under Kiong Bahn takes his "Melting Pot" seriously. As Cork's executive chef, the Korea-born 25 year old combines the spicy, the sweet and the earthy. If you don't expire from pleasure chomping his Chilean sea bass with red curry, check out his smokey orange chipotle chicken with chorizo.
3 Kibett Mengech
Ansill, 627 S. Third St., 215-627-2485
Hooked into David Ansill's woolly cuisine since their days at Lucy's Hat Shop, the 32-year-old Mengech (Striped Bass, Rouge) does the Ansill-ary-modern-cuisine-with-a-European-flair thing as neatly as the master. Despite the fact that he's all about the ceviches, you'll love his osso bucco sandwich and pork belly with mustard spaetzle.
4 Marc Plessis
Nineteen: An American Brasserie, Park Hyatt at The Bellevue, 19th floor, Broad and Walnut sts., 215-893-1234
When the mile-high Nineteen officially opens its doors, expect a crack at the next Latin-Asian-Middle-Eastern-Euro snack menu, which Plessis learned at Vix in Miami's Hotel Victor. We hear he's up to his gills in oceanic fare.
5 Justin Rambo-Garwood
Philadelphia Fish & Co., 207 Chestnut St., 215-625-8605
With a cred-filled resumé (Bleu, Le Bec-Fin), it's nothing but net for this 26-year-old, who is mostly inspired by his passion for vegetablesthe soul of any cuisine. His yellowfin tuna, seared rare, with its oyster mushroom and pearl onion stew, brussels sprout leaves and horseradish cream proves as much.