It stands to reason that whoever is at the helm of the best new restaurant would be a contender for the year's best chef, but that's not the only reason this award goes to Steven Joel Brown of Tilia. No, the set of criteria used to measure a great chef is rooted in what that individual brings to an already exciting and impressive dining scene. In Brown's case it's a sort of coolness, a confident swagger that looks best on someone who is a bit of a rebel, perhaps even someone who used to create innovative dishes at an ill-fated but well-loved (to those few who were in the know) restaurant called Rockstar. His intention to make Tilia a neighborhood hub that won't take reservations demonstrates what he aims to foster in this movement to democratize fine dining: community — the people who sit at your bar and gab over a grilled flatbread or a jar of potted meat. Brown radiates ideas, opinions, and stories, and fortunately that quality translates to each meticulously crafted plate of the new brand of comfort food he serves.