Matthew Eversman (Saigon Sisters)
Eversman came out of nowhere, and he almost stayed there: The restaurant he landed at after stints at Trotter’s and May Street Market was a small one, in a secluded corner of the West Loop, owned by restaurateurs whose experience was limited to a banh mi stand in the Chicago French Market. That the chef and his employer, Saigon Sisters, were the sleeper hits of the last few months is a testament to local diners, who know creative, exciting and exceedingly fresh cooking when they taste it. It’s also, of course, a testament to Eversman himself, who had the courage to twist and bend Vietnamese cuisine without losing its essence. 567 W Lake St (312-496-0090).
Other nominees Edward Kim (Ruxbin), Guy Meikle (Nana), Baiming Wu (MingHin Cuisine)