- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

MONROE, La. (AP) - Food and Wine magazine has named Cory Bahr as the Gulf Coast region’s People’s Best New Chef 2014.

Bahr, who operates Restaurants Cotton and the recently opened Nonna in Monroe, told The News-Star Wednesday (http://tnsne.ws/1hiju7X) that he was thrilled by the recognition.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without the care and support of my community, of which I’m most proud,” he said as he prepared shrimp and grits for the lunch crowd at Cotton.

“People ask me why I haven’t moved somewhere else. This is the reason. My community has continually supported me and lifted me up, and because of that we put it on them from New Orleans to Puerto Rico. It’s amazing.”

Bahr earned his latest honor by beating out nine other chefs from the region: four from New Orleans, two each from Alabama and Florida and one from Puerto Rico. Winners were chosen by an online vote at the magazine’s website, www.foodandwine.com . There were 10 regional winners. Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen of Prairie Village, Kan., was the overall winner.

“This validates that there is good food in Louisiana outside New Orleans,” Bahr said. “It brings more recognition, interest and hopefully more business, to our market.”

Food and Wine said Bahr is recognized for “sourcing the best ingredients - from cornmeal and sweet potatoes to rabbits, venison and duck eggs - from friends and neighbors for his updated and spectacular Southern dishes.”

Bahr also won the King of Louisiana Seafood title at the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience competition in 2011. The following year, he was the winning chef on Season 12 of Food Network’s “Chopped.”

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Information from: The News-Star, http://www.thenewsstar.com

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