Awards, Kudos to D.C.’s Lutèce, Apéro, and ‘Immigrant Food’

Our flourishing local culinary scene continues to garner praise, recognition and respect as Georgetown’s Lutèce and  Apéro, and Union Market’s Immigrant Food have recently been cited for prestigious awards and superlatives. 

Add these to Washington’s growing list of James Beard Award-winners – Rob Rubba of Oyster Oyster, Amy Brandwein of Centrolina, Kwame Onwuachi of Kith and Kin, Tom Cunanan of Bad Saint, Michael Rafidi of Albi and Yellow, Angel Barreto of Anju, José Andrés of Jaleo and Minibar, Mark Furstenberg of Bread Furst, Jeremiah Langhorne of the Dabney and Petite Cerise, Aaron Silverman of Pineapple and Pearls, Vikram Sunderam of Rasika, and Jon Sybert of Tail Up Goat, and the list goes on and on… 

Now, when it comes to the best restaurant or bar in the United States for “sipping champagne,” no source could be as authoritative as the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, a trade association which “represents the grape growers and houses of Champagne, France.” This year, in honor of Champagne Day, Oct. 27, the Champagne Bureau of the United States – the American affiliate of Le Comité – released its second annual list of the “best establishments in the United States for enjoying Champagne.” The list is designed to recognize “establishments perfect for discovering the unique sparkling wine that only comes from Champagne, France.”  

In its top-ten list, Apéro at 2622 P St. NW, was cited by the Champagne Bureau as, “a Champagne bar and French restaurant in our nation’s capital with a ‘Caviar Hour’ and a wonderful weekend brunch.” Only three east-coast venues were recognized. “From creative flights to delightful pairings to educational events, these honorees from all over the country help demonstrate what makes Champagne truly special,” said Natalie Pavlatos, spokesperson for the Champagne Bureau. “We encourage people to consider raising a glass at these wonderful establishments – not just on Champagne Day, but year-round!”

Courtesy Apéro.

So, we offer a heartfelt “felicitations!” to Apéro for their splendid offerings and recognition.

Meanwhile, who should be listed in Food & Wine’s list of “Best New Chefs in America” in its Oct. 2023 issue? Pastry Chef Isabel Coss of Lutèce was the only chef in Washington, D.C., honored on the listing of only 11 chefs. 

“For 35 years, Food & Wine editors have crisscrossed the country to find the top honorees” to recognize as “America’s most dynamic up-and-coming chefs.” According to a press release, “The 2023 class [of awardees] joins the ranks of past Best New Chefs, including Daniel Boulud, Nancy Silverton, Tom Colicchio, Nina Compton, Nobu Matsuhisa, Kwame Onwuachi, Stephanie Izard, and David Chang.”

Chef Isabel is a “talented Mexico City native and proud immigrant spearheading the Pastry Program at Lutèce in Georgetown, a New York Times 2022 “Best Restaurant in the Country” and 2023 Rammy award-winner for “Service Program of the Year,” the press release said. 

Lutèce Pastry Chef Isabel Coss. Instagram photo.

 “I’m so honored and humbled to receive this Best New Chefs recognition,” Chef Isabel said upon reception of the award. “This award is for my country, and especially for immigrants. The ones that travel looking for opportunities, for refuge, by force or by choice, and for those who, through this craft and lots of hard work, have found a career and a home. I found mine in a kitchen in Washington, D.C. called Lutèce alongside my amazing team. Thanks to my husband and culinary partner, Matt, to my family, my pastry team Savannah and Jess, and the Popal family. Thanks to Khushbu Shah and Food & Wine for recognizing a Mexican pastry chef like me, and congratulations to the rest of the Best New Chefs Class of 2023. And to all the young pastry cooks — don’t give up! Desserts will always have a special place in restaurants. Postres are life!”

Coss plans to open her new restaurant, Pascual, this October on Capitol Hill. Food & Wine’s “2023 Best New Chefs in America” is featured in the October issue on newsstands Sept. 22 and on

And, in another inspiring culinary immigration story, wonderful recognition to Immigrant Food’s Téa Ivanovic, recently recognized in Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30 North America class for 2023.” The 28-year-old COO and Co-Founder of Immigrant Food self-identified as: “D.C.’s first cause-casual restaurant,” with a mission to “celebrate America’s story: the story of immigrants.” – was recognized for growing the company to “about $3 million in annual revenue from two locations,” with “more than 50 percent” of staff being women. The company’s “gastroadvocacy” work includes a “partnership with five nonprofits, a weekly Engagement Menu which provides recommendations for guests and followers to support immigrants, and a monthly digital magazine on immigration called ‘The Think Table.’”

Téa Ivanovic. Courtesy Forbes.

Obviously, Ivanovic is on the move. According to Forbes, before she co-founded Immigrant Foods she “left Belgium at 16 to play varsity tennis for Virginia Tech’s D1 program. At 21, she was the youngest in her master’s graduating class at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.” 

Clearly, in the culinary arts, Georgetown and Washington, D.C., are primed to attract talented stars from around the globe and continue to gain kudos in world cuisine.



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