Chef Kelly English Is Having An Extraordinarily Good Year

First, his Restaurant Iris opened in Midtown to immediate acclaim for its inventive French Creole food emphasizing local and seasonal ingredients.


Then in October, he married Memphis native Angela English, and, last month, he was named one of 10 “Best New Chefs” for 2009 by Food & Wine magazine.

English was unaware of his nomination by New Orleans chef John Besh, his longtime mentor, or of the quiet visit to Restaurant Iris by Food & Wine restaurant editor Kate Heddings, who dined on Natchitoches meat pies, sautéed veal sweetbreads, and a chocolate malt.

“We were invited to this fantastic party at the City Winery in Tribeca,” English says. “It was surreal. I even got to shake hands with Daniel Boulud who is probably the greatest chef in the world.”

English and his wife also spent a few extra days in New York for a delayed honeymoon before heading back to Memphis for his restaurant’s anniversary party last Monday. Next up is a trip to Aspen, Colorado, in June when English and the other winning chefs will cook before an audience of 800 people. And, finally, the group will be featured in the cover story for the magazine’s July issue.

“I’m flattered and humbled to receive the award,” English says. “But this recognition is really an award for everyone who works at the restaurant, and it speaks volumes about our local farmers and the quality of their food.”

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