Chef of the Year: Dan Kluger (ABC Kitchen)

OTHER NOMINEES: April Bloomfield, Hugue Dufour, Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone

Let's hear it for Dan Kluger. Not only did the chef take home a Best New Restaurant win for his crackerjack work at ABC Kitchen, but he also scored your votes as the year's top toque. The white-knuckled race felled a brilliantly impulsive Canadian (Hugue Dufour), a pair of Italian-American upstarts (Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone) and one gifted sea queen (April Bloomfield). Kluger pulled ahead thanks to his reverential treatment of Greenmarket goodies and flawless French technique, mastered in the shadow of his boldfaced-name guru, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. In an age when seasonal cooking as a menu concept is verging on restaurant trope, Kluger's thoughtful and rambunctious food showed us that, really, we're just getting started. ABC Kitchen, 35 E 18th St at Broadway (212-475-5829,