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The Nate-erator: Choice Words From Food & Wine's Best New Chef

Nate, Nate, Nate. If anyone has had the year of all year's it's Nate Appleman: Nominated Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation, Best New Chef for Food & Wine, and now opening an A16 in Tokyo this fall. All at age 30. I've also heard rumors that he might be the next Iron Chef. (But I might be the one that started this rumor.)

We knew that he'd been elected Best New Chef by F&W but the July issue is just now out. Here are some of the things the Ohio native has to say. Basically, it's all about fried chicken and fire.

What he’d be if he weren’t a chef:
A butcher or a glass blower. “I’ve never blown glass before, but it looks so interesting, and you get to play with fire all day.”

What his next restaurants will be:
A16, in Tokyo (September 2009); Urbino, a restaurant featuring food from Italy’s Marche region in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood (2010).

Favorite childhood dish:
His grandmother Libby’s skillet-fried chicken. “She also made hamburgers in the skillet with onions. Then she put the buns in the grease—it was awesome.”

Cute story:
“I didn’t do well in school until I got to the CIA. Then I started getting Bs in culinary math, and I said, ‘B, that’s great!’ And I started reading trade magazines. I picked up F&W’s Best New Chefs issue [1998] with Michael Symon and Anne Kearney on the cover, and I became obsessed with it. I said, ‘That’s my goal right there.’ I still have that issue at home.”