NOTE: This post has been updated.
The photo above, posted this morning on Food & Wine Editor Dana Cowin’s Instgram feed, is how we found out that Cara Stadler, chef of Tao Yuan in Brunswick, is one of the members of the Class of 2014, Best New Chefs. Cowin announced all the winners by posting selfies with them.
“We were super excited — and shocked,” said a breathless Stadler via phone from New York City, where the 10 Best New Chefs are being feted at a party tonight and in all probability, photographed together for the cover of the annual Food & Wine Best New Chefs issue, which will hit newsstands in July. She is returning to Maine tomorrow after a whirlwind few days of celebration, while her sous chef and girlfriend Saskia Poulos, who has been spending the winter working on a farm in England and flew back just for the big announcement, will head back to the U.K. for another couple of months.
Stadler said she found out about the honor “a few weeks ago” when she got a phone call from Cowin. “I thought when I started cooking in my dream world it would be this and a James Beard Award. We’ve had an amazing year.”
Although she didn’t make the finals, Stadler was nominated last month for a James Beard Foundation Award for Rising Star Chef. She is still in the running for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef, New England, voted on by readers. Also nominated are Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, chefs of Eventide Oyster Co. and Hugo’s in Portland. Those results will be announced tomorrow, April 2 (voting closed March 31).
Stadler, who opened Tao Yuan in 2012 with her mother, Cecile (her dad, John, handles the business side) is working on opening her second restaurant, specializing in dumplings, on the corner of Spring Avenue and Park Street in Portland. She also has plans to expand Tao, installing a greenhouse and an hydroponic garden to grow Asian vegetables not readily available in Maine.
Here is the full list of 2014 Food & Wine Best New Chefs: