Only 26 and the new sous chef at Henri in Chicago, Brandon Zarb beat out his competitors to win the Midwest regional stage of the Chaine des Rotisseurs "Best Young Chef" competition. On Saturday, June 8 at Kendall College in Chicago, he'll take on nine other regional champs in a bid for national glory.
Should he win, here's what he'll get: a crystal trophy, a red-ribboned medal and a three-year membership to Chaine -- which bills itself as an "invitation-only" association for "professional chefs and non-professional gastronomic enthusiasts." He'll also be jetted to Istanbul, Turkey, for an international contest that pits him against 23 other chefs from 80 member nations.
Zarb hails from Detroit, Michigan, the state where he got his first taste of the culinary life washing dishes at a busy bakery. His Henri gig started in May.
"I can't think of any better way to push myself," Zarb said of the Chaine competition. "Competing at this level makes you a better chef, win or lose."