Best Chef - 2011
Roy Villacrusis at Kubo Asiatic Cuisine - CLOSED
It's only fitting that the chef whose restaurant earned Best of Palm Beach honors for 2011 should also take the crown as Best Chef. There are certainly better-known and more celebrated chefs in South Florida, but few are cooking with the disciplined abandon and uncompromising vision of Roy Villacrusis, who seemingly came out of nowhere to give the often-unadventurous Palm Beach County restaurant scene a giant kick in the ass. Actually, it wasn't out of nowhere but out of Mark Militello's now-shuttered CityPlace eatery, where Villacrusis ran the sushi bar. Before that, though, the self-taught chef cooked his way through restaurants from the Philippines to Las Vegas, especially drawn to the glistening freshness and aesthetic artistry of sushi. That artist's touch is evident in every plate that comes out of Kubo's exhibition kitchen. But although it's said that you first eat with your eyes, you taste with your palate, and Villacrusis never lets his arrangements or creativity get in the way of his food tasting really, really good. That alone is worthy of an award.