Three South Shore chefs have been named in a new book, "Best Chefs America", that asks the cooks to rate those they think are superb.
Of the 33 chefs given recognition in the Boston Area, Hingham’s Paul Wahlberg (Alma Nove), and Scituate’s Robin King (Oro) and Jurg Krummer (Barker Tavern) all made the list.
“I was completely blown away,” Wahlberg said. “It was just funny. [I thought] you’ve got to be kidding me. That’s not me. It’s not what I’m looking for. I just love what I do, and hopefully I’m good at what I do. That’s the only thing I want to do, improve myself.”
The exercise is eye-opening, and perhaps devoid of bias, as chefs interviewed could not recommend themselves, and recommended chefs had to receive several endorsements from others to make the list.
To be recognized by other chefs is perhaps the highest compliment a chef can get, Wahlberg said, a sentiment noted in the foreword of the book – you’re only as good as in the eyes of your peers.
According to Wahlberg, they are the people who know best, the ones with the best understanding of what it takes, and the ones with an interior knowledge of cooking skills and techniques.
That high standard makes the notice of a fellow chef the best praise in the dining room.
“It’s very humbling to me. I’m just happy making food,” Wahlberg said. “That’s the way I look at it and approach it. Somebody out there who has eaten at the restaurant, they seem to like what I do. It’s absolutely rewarding, that people appreciate what you do.”
When initially interviewed by the makers of the book, Wahlberg said he recommended King for the title.
King didn't hear about the book till after he had been nominated.
"I found out after I had been picked," King said. "They call around, different peers in the area, and basically that’s how it works. I was contacted after the fact. My wife Jill told me. and said, "Do you know anything about this,' and I said no."
King said that after being open a little more than three years, the recognition comes as quite the compliment.
"The more I looked into it, I was very flattered ... I'm just happy the food at the restaurant is getting recognized," King said. "For me, it's nice to have that happen, but in the same breath it goes back to the food and that people recognize and appreciate the food we do at the restaurant. It's humbling and very flattering, and came as a welcome compliment."
King said he was also humbled to be selected out of the dozens of high caliber restaurants in the South Shore.
Krummer was not immediately available for comment.
In addition to the names and contact information about each chef and restaurant, the book also features photos and discusses emerging culinary trends.
The first chapter also notes 25 of the nation’s most influential chefs, also gleaned from calls with nearly 5,000 chefs from around the country.
Yet the book is the first of its kind, and already with its release, makers are starting on what comes next.
“[It] will only get better as more chefs contribute their opinions,” said Michael Ruhlman, a noted American cook, in the Foreword.
To learn more about the book and get a sneak preview, click here.