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Best Chef

Cindy Wolf

She may not have a Food Network show or have made a run at Top Chef, but in the past 15 years Cindy Wolf has proven herself a powerhouse in Baltimore cuisine. Along with husband Tony Foreman, Wolf has amassed a local culinary empire. The pair are the masterminds behind four of the city’s top restaurants—Charleston, Petit Louis Bistro, Pazo, and Cinghiale—and people still talk about the now-defunct Savannah, her first Baltimore enterprise, where she mentored people who would later become noted chefs and restaurateurs, including Scott Smith of Big Bad Wolf’s House of Barbeque and Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes. But this laurel is for Best Chef, not Best Restaurateur, and the proof of that is in the pudding—or in this case, the cornmeal-fried oysters. Wolf’s mad cooking skills can be felt in every dish at Charleston, from rich lobster soup to her signature fried green tomato and crab sandwich. That Wolf can still be found in the kitchen of Charleston speaks to her love of what she does—she even worked right through a battle with breast cancer several years ago. And despite often being cited as the city’s most expensive restaurant, Charleston is never described as over-priced—which pretty much says it all.

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