Best Celebrity Chef - 2012
Traci Des Jardins
As the chef and mastermind behind San Francisco restaurants Jardinière, Mijita, and Public House — as well as Manzanita at the Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe — Traci Des Jardins could easily keep busy in the kitchen of her choice and never see daylight. Instead, she's a tireless fundraiser for the local community and beyond, and an ardent supporter of hunger-relief organizations like Share Our Strength. In 2011, she was the runner-up on the Bravo TV series Top Chef Masters, winning the lion's share of culinary challenges each week to earn more than $30,000 for La Cocina, a nonprofit incubator of food businesses owned by minority women that's based in the Mission District. While some of her more publicity-minded colleagues in the restaurant industry would have seized the opportunity for personal glory, Des Jardins has simply gone back to work.