Small Kingdoms: James Beard Award Winning Chef Maria Hines on her Culinary Empire

Small Kingdoms: James Beard Award Winning Chef Maria Hines on her Culinary Empire

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

Our top 100 Social Chef list features an array of culinary masterminds, many of which that have been awarded other prestigious awards. The list is not editorially selected, but rather it has been curated from social data. 

Since our list demonstrates that men are still the majority heading up restaurant kitchens, there are just over 15 out of the 100 chefs that are women, we are featuring the leading ladies on the list who are conquering this male-dominated realm. 

“High-end kitchens have long been regarded as a male domain, with culinary students worshiping brutal but allegedly brilliant men, best exemplified by the “bad boy” chef Marco Pierre White and made popular by the ludicrous character portrayed by Gordon Ramsay,” writes Jen Agg for “The New York Times.”

Fortunately, there are badass ladies obliterating this male chef stereotype. 

One of these chefs is Maria Hines, a 2009 James Beard Award winning chef whose renowned skills in the kitchen have led her to start a culinary empire. 

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Small Kingdoms: How Francophile Chef Suzanne Goin Continues to Dazzle West Coast Foodies

Small Kingdoms: How Francophile Chef Suzanne Goin Continues to Dazzle West Coast Foodies

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

A chef is so much more than a culinary mastermind in the kitchen. Our Top 100 Social Chefs feature artisans who have developed a brand and many of them showcase this with multiple different concepts.

One of the top chefs and leading ladies on this list is Suzanne Goin. 

Goin was born in LA and food was always part of her life as her parents were “food-obsessed” Francophiles (a person who is fond of or greatly admires France or the French.)

 

 

She eventually made her way over to the east coast and graduated from Brown University. After working at some of the most highly acclaimed restaurants in the country, including working as executive chef at Campanie in LA, she decided to start her own venture with her business partner Caroline Styne.

Together they opened Lucques in West Hollywood in 1998 and it was an instant success, so much so that Goin was recognized a year later as one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs.

Goin did not stop there though. This was just the beginning of her small kingdom.

In 2002, both Goin and Styne opened an entirely different concept, a.o.c. (which notoriously lands at No. 1 on Foodable’s LA Top 25 Restaurants) known for its small plate menu and perfect wine pairings. The restaurant was the inspiration for Goin’s second book, The A.O.C Cookbook, which features seasonal recipes by Goin and wine notes from Styne.

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Small Kingdoms: Inside Stephane Bombet's L.A. Restaurant Empire

Small Kingdoms: Inside Stephane Bombet's L.A. Restaurant Empire

By Allison Levine, Foodable Contributor

Restaurants in Los Angeles have been opening at an alarming rate. One of the people responsible for this is Stephane Bombet. Since 2010, Bombet has been behind some of L.A.’s most talked about restaurants, including Picca, Mo-Chica, Paiche, Faith & Flower, Terrine, Viviane, and Hanjip.

Bombet was born and raised in France. Though he grew up in the restaurant business — his family ran butcher shops and bakeries — Bombet studied journalism and worked in international politics and economics. In 1996, he opened a lounge/bar in Paris. He also started the VIP Room, a popular nightlife destination with locations around the world. But in 2011, Bombet sold his portion of the business and moved to Los Angeles after visiting a friend. He invested in a few companies but was in semi-retirement.

During his eight year break, Bombet noticed that L.A. was a city full of well-educated, well-traveled people with disposable income who enjoyed food and wine. There were only a handful of chefs of name in Los Angeles at the time, and Bombet felt it was a good time to open a restaurant. He was looking for a French chef, but was introduced to Chef Ricardo Zarate, who was behind Mo-Chica. Intrigued by his Peruvian cuisine, Bombet began working with Zarate to help bring his food into the city, and found the location that would become Picca.

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Small Kingdoms: Finding a Balance Between Traditional and Experimental Flavors With Thai Culinary Force Andy Ricker

Small Kingdoms: Finding a Balance Between Traditional and Experimental Flavors With Thai Culinary Force Andy Ricker

By Courtney WalshWest Coast Editor

Upon first glance, Portland’s own Andy Ricker may not seem a likely candidate for running one of the nation’s most successful Thai culinary empires. Yet with multiple concepts and locations on both coasts, Ricker’s series of Thai restaurants make for one of the most interesting and innovative “small kingdoms” in the country. 

The bi-coastal chef has already published his first cookbook, crafted his own line of drinking vinegars, and received James Beard awards for both his cooking and writing of Thai cuisine, alongside numerous “Restaurant of the Year” awards from a variety of publications. And while Thai traditionalists may balk at the fact that Ricker himself has no familial ties to Thai cuisine, one visit to any one of his restaurants would win over even the most devout fan of classical Thai cuisine.    

So how does he do it?

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Small Kingdoms: Rick Bayless Talks Early Success, the Power of Change, and His Draw to Authentic Mexican Cuisine

Small Kingdoms: Rick Bayless Talks Early Success, the Power of Change, and His Draw to Authentic Mexican Cuisine

Chef Rick Bayless has become a household name in the food industry. And though the backbone of his concepts all revolve around authentic Mexican cuisine, you never know what Bayless will have up his sleeve next. He doesn’t follow trends; he creates them. 

Foodable was fortunate enough to sit down with the Chef at this year’s National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago last month. Donned in a crisp white chef uniform, complete with his name etched in perfect stitching, Bayless’s demeanor is contradictory in a sense — soft and approachable, yet strong and aware. We’d expect nothing less than for him to command the attention he did, being that he has championed the space for so long.

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