2013-03-28 / News

New book titled “Best Chefs America” honors island resident

Kevin Gaudreau is one of 4,600 cooks named to list
By Ken Shane


Kevin Gaudreau Kevin Gaudreau Kevin Gaudreau has been named one of the top chefs in the nation in a new book called “Best Chefs America.” Gaudreau is the executive chef at Trio in Narragansett.

“Best Chefs America” is the only comprehensive peer-review guide to chefs in the United States. The book was put together by a team of self-confessed “foodies” who led the effort to interview 5,100 chefs across the country in order to determine who the chef’s favorite chefs were.

“I am thrilled to be nominated by my peers and included in ‘Best Chefs America,’” said Gaudreau, who lives in Jamestown with his wife Chrissy and the couple’s two sons, Nicholas and Finn. “This recognition is truly an honor and gives me yet another reason to be appreciative of my fellow professionals and chosen profession. With less than 1 percent of professional chefs in America recognized, it is very humbling.”

Gaudreau got his start in restaurant work when he got out of the Marine Corps and took a job as a dishwasher while attending college. At the age of 30 he found himself working with chefs who inspired him, and he decided that he would like to pursue a career as a cook. It took a lot of time and effort, but by working at restaurants in New York, Maryland and California, he got the training he needed to become a top-notch chef.

“I’m a self-trained chef, which I’m really happy to be because I never had to pay anybody back,” Gaudreau said.

Gaudreau has worked in a number of seafood restaurants over the years. He has brought that experience to his menu at Trio. He was inspired by the freshness and availability of the product, and when he moved back to Rhode Island it seemed natural to continue on that path in the Ocean State.

“I do a creative American food with a heavy influence on local seafood,” Gaudreau said.

According to Gaudreau, he doesn’t do a lot of cooking on his nights off at home, unless there is some sort of gathering. He said that his wife is a good cook and his sons are ravenous eaters. The family likes to seek out great local restaurants to try.

Gaudreau said he has had some great meals in the past at Trattoria Simpatico, and has enjoyed dining with chef Matthew MacCartney at Jamestown Fish. Off the island, he likes Gracie’s in Providence for special occasions. He also enjoys Tallulah on Thames in Newport. The chef describes himself as a “finicky eater,” and said that he likes nothing more than a thincrust pizza and fresh salad.

Gaudreau said he received a call several months ago from the people at “Best Chefs America” telling him that they were putting the book together. They said his name had come up in interviews with other chefs. He was asked a series of questions about his background, career, mentors and peers. He was also asked who he thought of as up-and-coming chefs in the area. Then about two weeks ago Gaudreau got an email from “Best Chefs America” congratulating him on being chosen as one of the chefs who made the cut for inclusion in the book.

According to Gabe Joseph of “Best Chefs America,” the book was created to fill a void in the food world where there was no industry wide peer review of chefs. The company set out to confidentially interview chefs from across the country. The interview process began in March 2012 and continued through December. More than 5,000 one-on-one telephone interviews were conducted.

The chefs were asked a series of questions during the interviews that lasted between 15 and 30 minutes. There were questions about the chef’s favorite restaurants, philosophy on food, trends in the food world, and new ingredients that were emerging. The chefs were also asked if they could have one chef in the local area cook for their family, who it would be.

The resulting data was compiled using proprietary software that was created specifically for the project. The list of chefs was distilled down to approximately 4,600 names. It was these chefs who were named the best in America in a book that was released on March 1. The book also includes a list of the 25 most influential chefs in the nation.

Each chef’s name is listed, directory style, in the book. Each listing also contains the restaurant name and contact information. The book is broken down into states, and each state into cities.

“It’s not your typical phonebook directory,” Joseph said. “It’s a nice book. It’s a 400-page hardcover. We’ve taken the time to speak with 5,000 chefs and bring that wisdom to the diner.”

Gaudreau has been at Trio since December 2011. He said that business is booming at the restaurant, and the staff is excited about the upcoming season.

“The restaurant is about 5 years old,” Gaudreau said. “It took a little time to try to find out who they were, but I think we’ve got it going in the right direction. The place has been mobbed all the time.”

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