Gerard Craft has lived in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, but it was in St. Louis that the young chef opened Niche in 2005. The Benton Park restaurant quickly became a favorite of the city's gourmands and critics (last year Riverfront Times named Craft Best Local Chef). But this year Craft entered a whole new realm of celebrity when he was named one of the nation's "Best New Chefs" by Food & Wine magazine. Previous winners of this prestigious honor include such luminaries as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Grant Achatz; Craft is the first St. Louis chef to be tabbed in the award's twenty-year history. "I consider myself to be extremely lucky," Craft told RFT shortly after the announcement. "There are so many [chefs] better than me. They all deserve to be recognized." The modesty is typical of Craft. Not that he needs to sing his own praises. Visit Niche — and don't be afraid to order the fried pig's head, if it's available — and your hosannas will be loud and clear.
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