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Cronut star, bread guru best chefs

Last year, New York pastry chef Dominique Ansel needed crowd control and rationing to handle the frenzy over the Cronut, his trademarked doughnut-croissant hybrid that became a viral success and spawned numerous knockoffs. There even was a Cronut black market, with some selling for as much as $40 online.

Just as the furor was fading, the James Beard Foundation put him back at the center of the culinary map, on Monday naming him the nation’s top pastry chef.

The Beard Foundation also gave a nod to the savory side of the baking aisle, naming Los Angeles bread and pizza guru Nancy Silverton the nation’s most outstanding chef. She’s only the fourth woman to get the honor since it began in 1991.

The James Beard awards honor those who follow in the footsteps of Beard, considered the dean of American cooking when he died in 1985.

The Beard Foundation also named its top regional chefs around the country, including Dave Beran of Next in Chicago (Great Lakes) and Justin Aprahamian of Sanford in Milwaukee (Midwest).

– Associated Press

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