Of all the things that separate Vietnamese cuisine from Chinese—arguably elevating the former to one of Asia’s most flavorful foods—is the emphasis on fresh, raw herbs. Yet, as you can probably imagine, there’s a lot more to cooking good pho than shopping for basil, mint and cilantro at the Beverly Hills Farmers Market.
On the face of it, Jordan Kahn, the chef and co-owner of Red Medicine, the Vietnamese fusion restaurant located on 8400 Wilshire Blvd. and South Gale Drive, has almost uncanny ability to create sumptuous flavors deriving primarily from locally grown fresh herbs. It’s uncanny not just because Kahn trained as a pastry chef and sped through a two-year culinary school in eight months. It’s also that Kahn has never been to Vietnam and has no Vietnamesec anestry.
That’s only part of the allure of Kahn, who helped launch celebrity chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller’s New York restaurant, Per Se. Kahn's talent for getting to the essence of a particular specialization, let along a foreign cuisine, is a large part of the reason why he has been nominated among America’s 10 “most brilliant up-and-coming chefs” in an annual contest by Food & Wine magazine that kicks off today, Monday.
The 10 chefs have been shortlisted from a list of 100 chefs nationwide from 10 regions, including California, Northwest and Pacific, and the New York Area.
Titled “People’s Best New Chef,” the contest invites readers to read short profiles of the 10 nominated chefs and vote for their top choice. The deadline to vote is March 18.