Apple crisp with oat streusel and red cinammon ice cream

Apple crisp with oat streusel and red cinammon ice cream

Food and Wine Magazine has been naming America's best new chefs for 24 years. This year, the magazine has introduced a best new pastry chef category. The winner will be announced in the magazine's May issue.

To promote its new category, the Food & Wine is running a separate contest it's calling the People's Best New Pastry Chef. Voters select one pasty chef each in the East, Central and West regions. And, "the chef with the most votes in the nation wins!"

It's the stupid est contest I ever saw. How could anyone make an informed choice about something like this?

Still it was nice to see Baltimore represented among the 17 contestants in the East. It's Chris Ford, the pastry chef at Wit & Wisdom, whose dessert menu you can see here. Ford is talented — his maple custard with orange toffee, Marcona almonds and bourbon is especially memorable. If nothing else, the presence of the high flying Mina Group restaurant in Baltimore is drawing in the national food press. In 24 years, not a single one of the 240 chefs that Food & Wine magazine has named one of America's best has been based in Maryland.

It's be great to see a Baltimore-based chef get some award recognition from the national press. The People's Best New Pastry Chef award is a hollow profiterole.

Voting for America's best new pastry chef began on Wednesday morning and continues through Valentine's Day. The finalists for the People's New Pastry Chef Award are not necessarily in contention for the editors' awards for America's Best New Pastry Chef.