Kevin Sbraga

Kevin Sbraga
261.88
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @ksbraga

Instagram: @kevinsbraga

If you’re familiar with cooking competition shows like “Top Chef,” you’ve probably heard of Kevin Sbraga. Kevin won the competition in Season 7, catapulting him to stardom in the culinary world; however, Kevin’s victory was the result of a lifetime of hard work. Before appearing on “Top Chef,” Kevin worked in his father’s bakery as a teenager before studying at Johnson & Wales in Miami to round out his skills as a chef. After graduation, Kevin worked as a culinary director under another chef on this list, Jose Garces. After his time with Garces, Kevin served as executive chef under Stephen Starr, and Kevin credits these experiences as being crucial to his development as a culinary master.

Since his victory on “Top Chef,” Kevin has opened three restaurants: Sbraga, The Fat Ham and Sbraga & Company; both Sbraga and The Fat Ham are still thriving and have received overwhelmingly positive reviews. In 2008, Kevin also competed in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition, winning the award for “Best Meat Presentation.” In addition to his acclaim as a chef, Kevin has also won the StarChefs.com Rising Star Community award for his charitable works in his hometown of Philadelphia. 

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Specialties & Resources

At Sbraga (winner of the 2015 OpenTable “Diner’s Choice” award), the focus is a New American-inspired take on traditional Spanish tapas. Offerings include escargot with hazelnut and mirepoix; baby lettuces with greens, fennel and pistachio; capicola mousse with pepperoncini, salami and rustic bread; Hamachi crudo with sweet potato, tiger’s milk and citrus; saffron risotto with uni butter, mussels and crispy calamari; gnocchi with blueberries, chevre and parsley pistou; pork shoulder rigatoni with guindilla escabeche; baby squash with jollof rice, pickled onion and almond; lamb loin with plantains, onions and dibi; and octopus with potato, olive tapenade and piri piri.

At The Fat Ham (winner of Philadelphia magazine’s “Best of Philly 2016” award), Kevin again turns to his mastery of tapas, this time with a Southern flair. Menu items include hummus with boiled peanuts and grilled country bread; tasso ham with Dijon; grilled beets with fennel lemon dressing and pickled beets; grilled asparagus with gremolata, poached egg and pickled onion; shaved catfish with escabeche and crab boil aioli; shrimp & grits with country ham, scallion and peanuts; and country captain wings with curry and chow chow aioli.  

Sam Kass

Sam Kass
261.89
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @SAM KASS

Instagram: @samkassdc

Sam Kass is not the first chef on this list to have worked with the Obama administration in some capacity, but his level of involvement far exceeds that of his contemporaries. From 2009 to 2014, Sam served as President Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy, as Executive Director for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign, and as an Assistant Chef in the White House kitchen.

Though most chefs have gained fame and prestige working in a traditional kitchen environment, Sam took an alternate route, opting instead to open his own personal chef company, Inevitable Table, in 2007. Inevitable Table focused on healthy eating, and it was this effort that led him to become the personal chef to the Obama family when President Obama was merely a junior Senator from Illinois.

A vocal advocate for sustainable farming and organic, locally-sourced foods, Sam is well-known for his criticism of modern agricultural companies and genetically-modified foods. Since July of 2015, Sam has been employed by NBC News as their Senior Food Analyst; his responsibilities with NBC include reporting on healthful eating, food trends and food production policies across all of NBC’s platforms.

Top Dishes

Rare solo night at home. Turning leftover pork w beans and rice into a ginger fried rice.

A photo posted by Sam Kass (@samkassdc) on

A photo posted by Sam Kass (@samkassdc) on

And braised short rib, sun chokes, house made pasta and a black truffles everywhere.

A photo posted by Sam Kass (@samkassdc) on

 

Specialties & Resources

Sam’s devotion to sustainable farming and organic foods is similar to many chefs on this list, but few have Sam’s passion for using healthy, all-natural ingredients in their cooking. Sam has also recently joined the tech startup Innit, whose stated goal is to change the way people eat and “to help people manage and prepare their food with ease.” Innit’s technology supports that effort by using sensors to measure a food’s data (such as weight, temperature, and portion size) to calculate the ideal time and temperature an amateur cook will need to cook those foods. Innit’s goal is to integrate this technology into appliances like refrigerators, with the hope that they will make cooking easier and more accessible to a larger number of people.

Sam’s go-to dishes include spring kitchen garden chopped salad with broccoli, cauliflower florets, carrots, spring peas, kale, reggiano cheese, chicken breasts and champagne lemon vinaigrette; ginger fried rice with pork, beans, and fried egg; warm butter king crab with burnt meyer lemon roasted garlic aioli, cress salad, celery parsley, radishes and serrano; braised short rib with sun chokes, house made pasta and black truffles; and farfalle salad with tomatoes, basil, reggiano, olive oil and lemon.

David Bouley

David Bouley
263.49
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @Bouley.Restaurant

Instagram: @bouleynyc

In 1991, Zagat’s took a survey of 7,000 diners, asking them “Where would you eat the last meal of your life?” Not surprisingly given his place on this list, respondents “overwhelmingly” selected David Bouley’s eponymous restaurant, “Bouley.” Beginning with stops in the kitchens of Cape Cod, Santa Fe, France and Switzerland, David has established a reputation as being a versatile chef whose creativity knows no bounds.

David’s solo endeavor, opened in 1987, earned a four-star review from the New York Times and a James Beard Foundation award for “Best Restaurant”; for his part, David also earned a James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: New York City.” And though you might think the success of his restaurant was limited to the pre-millennium restaurant boom in New York City, in 2015, Bouley earned the title of “Best Restaurant in the United States” (and #15 in the world) from TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards.

David has also run two other properties: Danube (which received two Michelin stars) and Brushstroke, and his efforts to educate the public and the chef world on the finer points of cuisine have solidified his reputation as one of the greatest chefs ever to set foot in a kitchen.

Top Dishes

Deep water oyster with california sea urchin and oscetra caviar

A photo posted by @bouleynyc on

 

Specialties & Resources

David’s culinary background is largely focused on French cuisine, and his continued success is a clear indicator that he is willing to adapt his cooking style to keep pace with his competition. The menus at his properties show his versatility and mastery of the culinary arts.

At Bouley, offerings include porcini flan with golden princess and Alaskan Dungeness crab and black truffle dashi; rainbow trout with roasted pine nuts, wild currants and watercress; foie gras with sour, sweet and bitter cherries; Hawaiian hiramasa and Nantucket Bluefin with meyer lemon, fresh passion fruit and verbena olive oil dressing; blue kale and sheep’s milk gnocchi with a 24-month comte cloud; lamb with snow peas, sweet peas, fava beans, okra, and organic rosemary-perfumed quinoa; duck with einkorn grain and young sprouts and burgundy-braised foie gras; and kobe sirloin cut with edible biodynamic wasabi, garlic chips and ruby crescent potato puree.

At Brushstroke, David’s focus is on traditional Japanese cuisine, with items such as apple foam and lime sorbet with scallops, orange clam, uni and trout caviar; chawanmushi with botan ebi, aonori ankake and maitake puree; chilled kabocha and butternut squash soup, tender Portugal octopus with squid ink sauce & leek vinegar; and Sencha-green tea grilled duck breast with late summer mushrooms.

Andy Husbands

Andy Husbands
264.18
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @SmokeShopBBQ

Instagram: @tremont647

Most chefs who appear on Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” tend to have their reputations diminished as a result; after all, very few chefs can withstand the constant deluge of shouting and insults and emerge unscathed from a night with Chef Ramsay. Andy Husbands is the rare exception.

The executive chef and owner of Tremont 657 and Sister Sorel in the South End of Boston and The Smoke Shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Andy has established a reputation as one of the best chefs in the country, a reputation that is sure to be solidified by his place on this list. Born and raised in Seattle, Andy moved to Massachusetts when he was 14 years old; that same year, his culinary career began when he took an after-school job working in a local bakery. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University, Andy took a job at the East Coast Grill as a sous chef before a cross-country motorcycle trip landed him in some San Francisco-based restaurant kitchens. Upon returning to Boston in 1996, Andy opened Tremont 647, and with its focus on seasonal and local ingredients, the California influence on the menu was clear.

Following on the success of Tremont 647, Andy opened Sister Sorel in 2000, and Andy has received critical recognition with semi-finalist finishes for James Beard Foundation awards in 2008 and 2009 and an “Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator magazine.

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Specialties & Resources

Andy’s culinary influences grew from his time in a variety of kitchens, and the menu at Tremont 647 reflects it. Offerings include smoked chicken wings with agave, BBQ spices and coleslaw; pineapple chili-glazed pork belly with crispy pork rinds and sesame cucumber salad; roasted beet salad with crispy herbed goat cheese, pickled grapes and horseradish-beet puree; arugula walnut pesto fettuccine with roasted cauliflower, broccoli, acorn squash, parmesan and walnuts; apple cider-brined pork chops with mustard spaetzle, apple-beet slaw and warm bacon vinaigrette; and grilled strip steak with broccoli rabe, cherry peppers, caramelized shallots, fontina-stuffed tots and horseradish cream. At Sister Sorel, the menu items are largely the same, but also include a pan-seared bluefish with roasted fingerling potatoes, dill yogurt and pickled vegetable relish.

At The Smoke Shop, the focus is on traditional barbecue dishes with a high-end culinary twist, with items such as fried brussels sprouts with creole-spiced pork skins, preserved lemon & Old Bay aioli; brisket plates; slabs of barbecue ribs; glazed barbecue chicken thighs; spinach salad with butternut squash, bacon, toasted walnuts, parmesan crackers and bacon vinaigrette; romaine salad with creamy dill dressing, sunflower seeds and fried shallots; and pulled pork.

 

Aaron Silverman

Aaron Silverman
264.31
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @rosesluxury

Instagram: @rosesluxury

Aaron Silverman is the rare chef on this list who not only didn’t grow up in a family of foodies, but also didn’t have any early interest in the culinary world. Though he has fond memories of his parents’ cooking, Aaron never considered cooking as a professional pursuit. That began to change in high school when Aaron worked at Gepetto restaurant, and after graduating college and realizing that money wasn’t a driving force in his life, Aaron began to consider the culinary arts.

Aaron trained himself by watching cooking shows and experimenting with recipes and was immediately hooked by the gratification one receives when they create a delicious, well-rounded dish. He began working in the kitchen of 2941 in Falls Church, Virginia, where he learned from chef Jonathan Krinn the realities of the restaurant industry. And almost 10 years later, Aaron opened Rose’s Luxury in Washington, D.C.

Rose’s Luxury is well-known as one of the first restaurants to offer health insurance and full benefits to all its employees, but Aaron’s charitable nature doesn’t end there; servers also have the freedom to give away one free dish to every table they serve. For Aaron, cooking is about joy, and that ethos permeates every aspect of his business pursuits.

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Specialties & Resources

Aaron’s unconventional introduction to the culinary world is reflected in the offerings at Rose’s Luxury. Dishes include foie gras & chicken liver pate with plum mostarda & brioche; pork sausage with habanero, peanuts & lychee salad; romaine hearts with duck egg, crispy potato, herbs & buttermilk; grilled beef sirloin with hollandaise & green papaya; blue catfish with crispy bread, green tomato relish & saffron aioli; boudin-stuffed squid with cold potato salad & herb; hand-cut trenette; arro reginetti with garlic, kale & mustard greens; rigatoni with tomato, eggplant, anchovy & int; greek chicken with housemade pita & pickled vegetables; and smoked brisket with white bread, horseradish & slaw.

Building on the success of Rose’s Luxury, Aaron also opened Pineapple & Pearls this past April. Centered on an idea of whimsical elegance, the menu changes daily with new tasting items for guests. Past offerings include smoked beef rib with mole and nixtamalized grits; and white-asparagus okonomiyaki coated with mushroom duxelles and chicken mousse rolled in a rice-flour crepe and topped with bonito flakes. Aaron has stated his desire to make Pineapple & Pearls a “place of celebration,” and the lighthearted approach to their cuisine allows guests to focus on the dining experience as a whole. Based on its success, Aaron’s creations are sure to continue to be in high demand.

Dan Kluger

Dan Kluger
264.45
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @chefdankluger

Instagram: @dan_kluger

In New York City, there are few yet-to-be-opened restaurants that have inspired such breathless anticipation as Dan Kluger’s forthcoming solo effort, Loring Place. This, of course, is a testament to Dan’s considerable talent in the kitchen and his vast array of culinary skills, and his inclusion on this list is further proof that Dan is indeed a chef to watch.

During his externship as part of Syracuse University’s Nutrition and Hospitality Management program, Dan worked in the dining room of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Café. After graduating, Dan returned to Union Square Café, this time as a prep cook. From there, Dan worked his way up at various restaurants like Tabla, The Core Club, and Jean-Georges before serving as the executive chef at ABC Kitchen. During his tenure, ABC won the 2011 James Beard Foundation award for “Best New Restaurant,” and Dan himself was named the “Best New Chef of 2012” by Food & Wine magazine. Dan also served as the executive chef for ABC Cocina, and in 2014, he was nominated for a James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: New York City.” With that kind of resume, his new venture is bound to be a rousing success.

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Specialties & Resources

The variety of kitchens in which Dan has trained has given him a unique approach to cooking and the culinary arts. Dan credits his time at Tabla as being instrumental to understanding the balance of flavors and textures in his dishes as well as opening up completely new avenues for his cooking with the use of Indian spices. Additionally, Dan’s pure farm-to-table methodology ensures that his guests only receive the best and freshest locally-sourced ingredients.

At ABC Kitchen, menu offerings include roasted Portobello and celery leaves; house-made chicken and pork sausage with pistachio, potatoes and whole grain mustard; house-made ricotta with strawberry compote and grilled bread; tomato and raspberry gazpacho; shaved raw fluke with radish and nasturtium vinaigrette; line-caught tuna sashimi marinated with ginger and mint; roast carrot and avocado salad with crunch seeds, sour cream and citrus; pretzel-dusted calamari with spicy tomato and mustard aioli; ricotta ravioli with herbs and tomato sauce; fresh fettuccine with pistachio pesto, wax beans and cherry tomatoes; salmon with habanero-lime sauce, sweet corn, scallions and market cucumbers; hake with slow-roasted tomatoes and cucumber yogurt; crispy pork confit with smoked bacon marmalade and braised turnips; and wood oven roasted Maine lobster with oregano and lemon-chili vinaigrette.

Elizabeth Falkner

Elizabeth Falkner
264.77
SOCIAL SCORE

For Elizabeth Falkner, the amount of time she has spent in the public eye has led to all the recognition a chef could ever want. Elizabeth is most frequently seen on cooking shows, having appeared on “The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs,” “The Next Iron Chef: Redemption,” Chopped All-Stars,” “Top Chef,” “Top Chef Masters,” “Top Chef: Just Desserts,” “Top Chef: Canada,” and “Food Network Challenge.” Elizabeth also served as the executive chef, pastry chef and managing partner of Citizen Cake as well as the co-owner and executive chef of Orson (both located in San Francisco).

In 2012, Elizabeth won First Prize at the World Pizza Championships in Naples, Italy, her accomplishments, the latest in a long line of accomplishments. Elizabeth has been named a “Rising Star Chef” by the San Francisco Chronicle (1995), “Pastry Chef of the Year” by San Francisco magazine (1999), and one of the “10 Women with Substance and Style” by Organic Style magazine (2004). Elizabeth has also won two “Golden Bowl” awards from the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs organization, one for “Best Pastry Chef” and one for “Women Who Inspire” (both in 2003). Last but not least, Elizabeth was also nominated for a James Beard Foundation “Best Pastry Chef” award in 2005, the recipient of the “Charles M. Holmes Award” by the Human Rights Campaign in 2005, and an inductee into the Culinary Hall of Fame.

Top Dishes

#BLT #lunch Chez @cheffalkner

A photo posted by Elizabeth Falkner (@cheffalkner) on

Mmmmm Make Indian food!

A photo posted by Elizabeth Falkner (@cheffalkner) on

 

Specialties & Resources

While many chefs have one or two styles to which they adhere, Elizabeth’s cooking style is so diverse it almost defies description. Elizabeth has long been considered one of the foremost American chefs in a variety of culinary styles, including Pioneering American fare, traditional (and non-traditional) Italian cuisine, Mediterranean dishes, bread-making, pizzas, pastries, cakes and the California style of using locally-sourced ingredients in dishes.

Though the name Citizen Cake may make it sound like a pastry shop, the offerings included heirloom tomatoes with grilled pork belly panzanella, basil and aioli; arugula salad with melon, nicoise olives and feta; spinach salad lardon with poached egg and mustard vinaigrette; and Dutch-souffle with summer fruit compote. Of course, the pastries also played a large role, with items such as cassis-violet, basil and hazelnut-chocolate macaroons; tangerine creamsicle verrine; and “A ChocWork Orange” petite gateau.

At Orson, offerings included baked goat cheese salad with frisee, apples and walnut vinaigrette; thai coconut curry mussels with fresno chili, cilantro and grilled bread; braised beef short ribs with semolina-ricotta cake, roasted beets, horseradish cream and cress; chicken ballotine with gnocchi, pancetta and parsnip; and local rock cod with daikon, dashi broth, ginger and tapioca.

Dale Talde

Dale Talde
265.37
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @ChefDaleTalde

Instagram: @daletalde

Fans of cooking competition shows will recognize Dale Talde’s name and, most likely, applaud his inclusion on this list. The Chicago-born chef has competed on two seasons of “Top Chef: Chicago” and “Top Chef All-Stars,” and his is a name to watch. Having already received four stars from New York magazine and three stars from TimeOut New York, Dale’s eponymous restaurants have gained acclaim for their adherence to Asian culinary influences while still maintaining a sense of originality.

Dale was inspired to pursue the culinary arts after a trip to San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood when he was a child. After ordering Peking duck congee, Dale realized that the only limit to how far he could go in the world of cooking was his imagination. After graduating culinary school, Dale worked at Outback Steakhouse (a position he does not remember fondly), he quickly moved to a kitchen more suitable for his talents at Stephen Starr’s Buddakan. Dale credits his time in Buddakan’s kitchen as providing a “total flip: don’t make aesthetic the primary focus- it has to taste good.” As it turns out, that paradigm shift was the springboard to great things.

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Specialties & Resources

Known for his unique cooking style that combines elements of Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and Filipino cuisine while also retaining a sense of originality, Dale’s restaurant (with locations in Brooklyn, Jersey City and Miami) have been lauded for their daring approach to Asian cuisine. Dale utilizes a vast array of ingredients, both traditional and esoteric, to draw out flavors that will best serve the overall dish, and he has demonstrated an intrinsic understanding of what makes good food taste that way.

Offerings include pretzel pork & chive dumplings with spicy mustard; kung pao chicken wings with peanuts and house-made buttermilk ranch; tuna poke with avocado, water chestnuts and crispy rice paper; kale salad with pickled green mango, fried plantains, cashews and creamy ponzu dressing; yuzu guacamole with crispy rice and speck; samosas with spicy English peas, kaffir lime yogurt and chutney; lobster tom kha with coconut milk, rice noodles and corn; crispy oyster & bacon pad thai with peanuts; dan dan noodles with Szechuan-braised short ribs, peanuts and scallions; whole-roasted branzino with banana leaf, turmeric and tomato; smoked chili shrimp sambal with lettuce and peaches, Korean fried chicken with spicy kimchi yogurt, grapes and mint; and lemongrass pork shoulder with shaved pear and Thai basil.

Greg Vernick

Greg Vernick
266.08
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @VernickPhilly

Instagram: @vernickphilly

Like a lot of chefs on this list, Greg Vernick got his introduction to the culinary world at an early age. The grandson of a Philadelphia butcher and the son of a restaurateur, Greg graduated from Boston University before attending the Culinary Institute of America. After completing his externship under Ken Oringer at Clio, Greg spent the next few years working for legendary chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, first at Perry St. as a line cook on the early shift, then as a sous-chef at Jean Georges and Nougatine.

Greg’s star continued to rise as he worked with Vongerichten, and eventually Greg was named the corporate chef trainer for Vongerichten’s restaurants around the world, including in Qatar, Tokyo, Vancouver, Boston, and Utah. Having learned a lot at the hands of his mentor, Greg decided to strike out on his own in May of 2012, opening his own property Vernick Food & Drink. The restaurant was very well-received, and in 2013, Greg received a “Rising Star Chef” designation from StarChefs.com; in addition, he has received positive mentions in Food & Wine magazine, Bon Appetit magazine, and from the James Beard Foundation. There’s no doubt that we’ll be hearing a lot from Greg in the future. 

Top Dishes

charcoal-grilled beef short rib, pear & kimchi

A photo posted by Vernick Food & Drink (@vernickphilly) on

oven roasted foie gras with a chanterelle mushroom chutney

A photo posted by Vernick Food & Drink (@vernickphilly) on

charcoal grilled quail, white peaches, piccalilli & jus

A photo posted by Vernick Food & Drink (@vernickphilly) on

fire roasted deliciousness....#cabbage with capers and prosciutto @drewpa17

A photo posted by Vernick Food & Drink (@vernickphilly) on

 

Specialties & Resources

Greg’s culinary style covers a variety of areas. The influence of Jean-Georges Vongerichten can be seen in some of his dishes, but Greg has also learned a few tricks of his own over the years. At Vernick Food & Drink, menu items include fromage blanc & plum chutney; avocado & spicy radish on toast; grilled heart of romaine with figs and aged cheddar; mushroom salad with crispy egg, frisee and porcini cream; smoked Pocono trout with dill yogurt, potatoes, pickles & Dijon; red curry shrimp with jasmine rice, long beans & peanuts; warm parmesan custard with caramelized baby artichokes; chilled sesame noodle with Napa cabbage and carrot-ginger dressing; grilled black sea bass with acqua pazza, spicy broccoli & saffron; raw arctic char with crispy skin & dill; raw sea urchin with warm scrambled eggs; venison au poivre with caramelized cabbage, mole & jus; halibut with Parisian gnocchi, chanterelles, and squash puree and lemon-garlic broth.

In addition to the main menu offerings, Vernick Food & Drink also offers a few wood-fired oven-roasted dishes. Offerings include whole fish with fennel & orange; Maine lobster with dashi butter and green chile sausage; organic Amish chicken with lemon & herb jus; and a 28-oz. dry-aged bone-in strip loin with charred lettuce and lemon.

Seamus Mullen

Seamus Mullen
266.29
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @Seamus.Mullen

Instagram: @seamusmullen

Though nearly every chef in the industry focuses on creating dishes that are both delicious and healthy, very few can say they share the same level of dedication to creating healthy meals (and, by extension, healthy lifestyles) as Seamus Mullen. Raised on an organic farm in Vermont, Seamus gained an early appreciation for the value of all-natural food. And when Seamus was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2007, that appreciation and commitment deepened. By focusing on his diet, exercising efficiently and making some lifestyle changes, Seamus has turned his health around, and he has published a book called “Hero Food” focused on improving one’s lifestyle through proper cooking techniques.

Of course, Seamus is more than just a healthy-eating activist. In 2009, he was a finalist on “The Next Iron Chef,” and he has been named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: New York City” three years in a row. Using his skills in Spanish cuisine, Seamus has made quite a name for himself, and his restaurants (Tertulia and El Colmado) have gained widespread critical acclaim. His is a name we’re sure to hear a lot in the coming years.

Top Dishes

Behind the scenes, #realfoodheals, Sunday brunch...family meal coming!

A photo posted by Seamus Mullen (@seamusmullen) on

 

Specialties & Resources

Seamus got his big break in 2006 while working at Boqueria, one of New York’s premier Spanish restaurants. Using the skills he gained while training in kitchens in Spain, New York and San Francisco, Seamus has forged a reputation as an inventive and daring chef who’s willing to take risks.

At Tertulia, menu items include tapas plates like pimientos a la brasa with grilled shishito peppers, lime salt and cilantro; ibérico ham croquettes with membrillo, black and white anchovies with slow-roasted tomato, sheep’s milk cheese, aged balsamic, flax and quinoa crisps; and smoked pig cheek with quail egg and pepper. The fuller menu items include Moroccan-marinated fairytale eggplant with cucumber labneh; Tuscan kale with soft-cooked egg, pickled squash and mushroom vinaigrette; grilled Spanish octopus with potato confit, blistered cherry tomatoes and chimichurri; Spanish omelet with grilled mushrooms, smoky leeks, anchovy pesto and ibérico ham lard; and lamb meatballs with bitter greens, spring peas and house-made yogurt.

At El Colmado, additional offerings include flash-fried baby squid with piquillo aioli; smoked beets with mizuna greens, candied pistachios and dill crème fraiche; “arroz negro” (black rice) with squid ink, calamari and avocado; grilled Spanish octopus with marinated marble potatoes, cauliflower, and mojo picon; gulf shrimp with garlic, guindilla and olive oil; and grilled runner beans with roasted marcona almonds and carrot romesco.

Justin Warner

Justin Warner
266.88
SOCIAL SCORE

The self-proclaimed “Rebel with a Culinary Cause,” Justin Warner has earned himself a spot on this list with his inventive and daring approach to cooking. If you’re a fan of cookbooks, you’ve probably heard his name before; Justin is the author of “The Laws of Cooking: And How to Break Them,” published in 2015. And if you’re a Food Network viewer, you’ve seen Justin before- he won the “Food Network Star” competition in Season 8. Justin’s first appearance on the Food Network was in 2010, when he appeared on (and won) an episode of “24-Hour Restaurant Battle” with his then-girlfriend. Though Justin and J.J. won that episode with their concept for a brunch-centric restaurant, the restaurant never materialized. In 2013, Justin also debuted a pilot on Food Network called “Rebel Eats.”

Justin’s introduction to the culinary world began when he was a child and was inspired to learn to cook by his father. In high school, Justin was a student assistant, and he would often bring his culinary experiments to a retired principal who provided feedback. This feedback served Justin well later in life, when he opened Do or Dine in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood; his efforts in the kitchen also earned him a Michelin Bib Gourmand award. Sadly, Do or Dine closed in 2015, but given Justin’s obvious talent in the kitchen, it’s only a matter of time before we hear from him again.

Top Dishes

Foie schmear. I've said enough. Go to @kossars this week only and try out my new baby!

A photo posted by Justin Warner (@eatfellowhumans) on

Mentaiko pasta. It's the jam.

A photo posted by Justin Warner (@eatfellowhumans) on

Huevos hipsteros.. quinoa instead of tortillas.

A photo posted by Justin Warner (@eatfellowhumans) on

 

Specialties & Resources

A lack of any formal training might pose limitations to a less-inventive chef, but at Do or Dine, Justin turned a potential disadvantage into a positive. The dishes at Do or Dine were a blend of a variety of different culinary styles and a mishmash of traditional fare with esoteric ingredients.

Snack offerings included Nippon nachos with gouda, cheddar and masago sour cream; frog legs with a spicy Dr. Pepper glaze; venison wontons with jarlsberg cheese; skipjack tuna crudo with bay water, leek and ginger; shishito with yuzu, wasabi, hickory and green tea; miso grilled corn with kewpie and togarashi.

The small plates drew less from Japanese cuisine and leaned more towards a pan-European style of cooking. Menu items included foie gras doughnuts; fatty lamb breast with cumin and lime; hummus with black sesame tahini and vegetables; steak tartare with Bedford hill espresso aioli; grilled squid with wild mushroom aioli, and chilled cucumber soup with scallop ceviche, vanilla and crème fraiche.

The big plates were the result of a host of different culinary influences. Offerings included chicken and “woffals” with jerk seasoning, maple and pineapple; New Zealand duck breast with sansho, kiwi and fennel, pork chop with lemongrass, basil and peanut; and chimichangas with chickpeas, chermoula, and blackberries.

Joe Ng

Joe Ng
266.91
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @RedFarmNYC

Instagram: @redfarmnyc

Though Joe Ng may not have the high public profile of some of the other chefs on this list, make no mistake: he’s one of the best at his craft, and he continues to improve. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, Joe has been named “New York City’s prince of dim-sum,” and given the success of his restaurant RedFarm, it’s easy to see why. Unlike many Chinese restaurants that sacrifice authenticity to make more bland, crowd-pleasing fare, Joe’s commitment to his craft allows him to create food that is at once adherent to Chinese culinary traditions and palatable to the masses who would usually shy away from authentic Chinese cuisine.

Joe opened RedFarm in New York’s Upper West Side with his partner Ed Schoenfeld, and since its inception, RedFarm has been considered one of the best places in New York City to enjoy Chinese cuisine. (And considering the amount of competition Joe has, it’s a further testament to his skills as a chef.) Joe’s inclusion on this list should come as no surprise, and we’re certain that his dedication to his craft will make him a household name one day soon.

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Specialties & Resources

Joe’s attention to detail shines through in his creations at RedFarm, and his ability to make even the most minor tweaks to a dish’s ingredients (for example, replacing cornstarch in the hot-and-sour soup broth with potato starch) can dramatically change the dish from run-of-the-mill fare to something entirely new.

At RedFarm, offerings include barbecue Berkshire pork belly with grilled jalapenos; barbecue duck breast with grilled lychee and lotus chips; diced tuna with crispy noodles; Katz’s pastrami egg rolls (made with pastrami from New York’s famous Katz’s Deli); shrimp-stuffed jalapeno poppers; crispy oxtail dumplings; duck & crab dumplings; pan-fried shrimp dumplings with flowering chives and fresh corn; crunchy vegetable & peanut dumplings; shrimp & snow pea leaf dumplings; mussels with eggplant & okra; jumbo shrimp with cashews, winter vegetables and XO sauce; lobster with chopped pork and egg; diced lamb with Chinese broccoli and pickled shallots; wok fried string beans and brussels sprouts; lobster long-life noodles; wok-braised shrimp wontons with ramen noodles; steamed koshihikari short-grain rice bowls; bacon & egg fried rice; and udon noodles with grilled short ribs.

Michael Anthony

Michael Anthony
267.88
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @GramercyTavern

Instagram: @chefmikeanthony

Though he got his start working with such notable chefs as Daniel Boulud and Dan Barber, Michael Anthony has done quite enough in his career to establish quite the reputation for himself. Michael began his career in Tokyo working under Shizuyo Shima before moving to France in 1992 and attending L’ecole Ferrandi in Paris to further study the culinary arts. Fortunately for him, his degrees in business, French and Japanese made the transition from student to successful restaurateur a smooth one, and by the time he was named executive chef at Gramercy Tavern, Michael had all the pieces in place to make his own imprint.

After working his way up to Chef-Partner at Gramercy Tavern in 2011, Michael was named Executive Chef and Managing Director of Untitled and the Studio Café at New York’s Whitney Museum; of course, this career trajectory is not surprising with such a highly-decorated chef. Michael has won numerous awards and accolades in his career: in 2002, he was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs”; in 2007, he received the same designation from TimeOut New York magazine. In 2012, Michael won the James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: New York City,” and in 2015, he took home another James Beard Award, this time for “Outstanding Chef.” Both Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill at Stone Barns have received three stars from The New York Times, and Gramercy Tavern has also earned one Michelin star and a James Beard Foundation award for “Outstanding Restaurant” in 2008.

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Specialties & Resources

At Gramercy Tavern, Michael draws upon his unique multidisciplinary culinary training to create vibrant new takes on contemporary American, and it’s no surprise that his creations have made Gramercy Tavern one of New York City’s most consistently highly-reviewed restaurants.

Offerings include pumpkin soup with apples and peppers; wagyu beef tartare with mushrooms, pine nuts and turnips; corn & crab salad with green tomatoes and chiles; smoked trout with green onions, pickled ramps and kohlrabi; lamb strozzapreti with sungold tomatoes and fennel orange sauce; striped bass with artichokes, bacon and shell beans; smoked cobia with eggplant, stone fruit and miso; and pork loin & belly with tomatoes, gem lettuce and pickled beans.

At Untitled, Michael has created an upscale yet relaxed atmosphere, and the menu reflects the unassuming approach to the dishes. Menu items include falafel with hummus and flatbread; carrot soup with crème fraiche and hazelnut; and ramen with braised pork, bok choy, scallion and chili oil. The menu also offers a variety of toasts, including heirloom tomato with ricotta and basil; avocado with radish, pickled peppers and sunflower seeds; melted cheddar with green tomato; and smoked whitefish salad with pole bean and tomatoes.

Dante de Magistris

Dante de Magistris
267.89
SOCIAL SCORE

Though plenty of chefs got their start at an early age, few can say their cooking career began with a visit from the local fire department at the age of 4. But Dante de Magistris is unlike any other chef on this list. The fire, which was started when Dante attempted to make eggs by putting them in Tupperware on the stove, was easily extinguished, but Dante’s passion for cooking was not. At 18 years old, Dante began a pilgrimage to his ancestral home in Italy, first working in Bologna and Florence, then working as a sous-chef at Ristorante Don Alfonso on the Amalfi Coast.

It was at Ristorante Don Alfonso where Dante’s career really took off. The head chefs left Dante in charge while they traveled to France, and while they were gone, Michelin came to review the restaurant; of course, Dante performed admirably, helping the restaurant win its third Michelin star.

Soon after, Dante returned to Boston, and along with his brothers Filippo and Damian opened Restaurant dante in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Restaurant dante has received plenty of critical acclaim, including a place on Bon Appetit magazine’s “Hot 10 Restaurants of 2006” list, Boston Globe magazine’s “Best of the New” list in 2007, and winning Boston magazine’s “Best of Boston” award for “Best Italian Restaurant” in 2008. In 2009, Dante and his brothers opened il Casale in their hometown of Belmont, ironically occupying a space that was once a firehouse- the same firehouse that responded to 4-year-old Dante’s first cooking mishap.

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Specialties & Resources

Dante’s specialty is classic Italian cuisine, and he has honed his craft and technique over the years. At Restaurant dante, offerings include porcini risotto balls with mozzarella and truffle honey; grilled eggplant involtini with ricotta and tomato sugo; grilled octopus with grilled potatoes, mustard greens and olive vinaigrette; tomato-braised tripe with chickpeas, parmigiano-reggiano and parsley; organic greens with grapes, almonds, green beans, radishes and red wine vinaigrette; duck gnocchi with vegetable soffritto and drunken sour cherries; ricotta ravioli with porcini & chestnut sauce, crispy pancetta and sage; radiatorie pasta with braised lamb, root vegetables, grana Padano and root vegetables; lobster amatriciana with chitarra spaghetti, guanciale, tomatoes and hot pepperoncini; and seared duck breast with creamy carrot puree, citrus mostarda, vincotto and mustard greens.

At il Casale, menu items include octopus salad with potatoes, castelvetrano olives and preserved lemon; Tuscan tomato-bread pudding with extra virgin olive oil and basil; crispy calamari with zucchini, lemon wheel and peppadew aioli; rock shrimp scampi with cherry tomatoes, garlic and parsley; atlantic salmon filet with horseradish-pistachio crust, couscous and pesto; veal saltimbocca with prosciutto, bufala mozzarella and veal demi-glace; and gnocchi with forested mushrooms, truffle oil and crispy sage.

Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich
267.89
SOCIAL SCORE

Whether it’s because of the “flavor-of-the-week” direction that many food critics take nowadays or because they burn out, very few cooks have the longevity that Lidia Bastianich has enjoyed throughout her career. Born in then-Italy (now Yugoslavia), Lidia and her family were uprooted and brought to New York in 1958. Lidia began her culinary journey in 1971 working as the hostess at the restaurant she co-owned with her husband, Buonavia in Queens. A year later, Lidia began training as the assistant chef, and her knack for traditional Italian cuisine quickly became apparent. As Buonavia experienced success, Lidia took more of a central role at the couple’s second restaurant, Villa Secondo, giving live cooking demonstrations and earning the attention and praise of local critics.

In 1981, Lidia and her husband Felice spent every dime they had to open Felidia, and the gamble paid off: The New York Times gave Felidia three stars, and Lidia’s career rose to new heights. In 1993, Lidia’s son Joseph convinced his parents to open Becco in Manhattan’s Theater District; the result was a rousing success that led to Lidia appearing on Julia Child’s cooking show and, eventually, a friendship with Mario Batali. In 2010, Lidia and Joseph partnered with Mario and Oscar Farinetti to open Eataly; that same year, Lidia launched her Lidia’s Kitchen line, her own cookware line.

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Specialties & Resources

Though many chefs have mastered the art of Italian cuisine, very few have achieved the level of intrinsic understanding and passion for Italian cooking, and Lidia is one of those few. The menu at Becco includes classic Italian fare while also taking advantage of seasonal vegetables to ensure the offerings remain fresh and exciting.

The menu at Becco includes items like insalata mista (baby greens, Tuscan beans, red onion, sunchokes, and fresh tomatoes tossed with extra virgin olive oil & shallot vinaigrette); panzanella (arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion & day-old bread with red wine vinaigrette); Papa Pomodoro (Italian tomato summer soup thickened with bread); soft white polenta with melted Montasio cheese & crispy prosciutto; mussels steamed in garlic with onions & fresh green beans, seasoned with savory breadcrumbs; fried mozzarella “in carrozza” (house-made mozzarella sandwiches, fried and served with fresh pesto and oven-dried tomato puree); pan-seared salmon with braised cauliflower; cubanella peppers stuffed with beef, pork and veal braised in tomato sauce with grana Padano and spinach spaetzle; pan-seared calf liver with caramelized onions, bacon and crispy polenta; and grilled swordfish with grilled summer corn, chanterelles, cherry tomatoes and arugula.

Jamie Bissonnette

Jamie Bissonnette
268.91
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @Jamie.Bissonnette

Instagram: @jamiebiss

Along with his partner Ken Oringer, Jamie Bissonnette is one-half of one of the most dynamic duos in the culinary world today. After achieving his Culinary Arts degree from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale at the age of 19, Jamie traveled the country and staged in kitchens, first in Hartford, then in Boston. After stints in Peking Tom’s, Pigalle, Tremont 647, and Eastern Standard, Jamie met Oringer, who hired him to run the kitchen at his new restaurant KO Prime in 2007. Jamie made an immediate impact, earning himself praise from The Improper Bostonian magazine as a “Rising Star Chef” and earning KO Prime their “Best New Restaurant” award.

Today, Jamie works with Ken at Toro and Coppa, and their partnership has led to plenty of acclaim. Jamie was nominated for the James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: Northeast” in 2012 and 2013, and finally won the award in 2014. Jamie has also taken home Food & Wine magazine’s “People’s Choice: Best New Chef” award, and later took home the grand prize on “Chopped.” This year, Jamie and Oringer opened Little Donkey in Cambridge, Massachusetts and expanded the Toro empire abroad, opening a location in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Braised tripe & lamb with yogurt, preserved lemon, harissa and mint @littledonkeyboston

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Chinese sausage Parker house rolls, grilled oysters, and Foie gras boudin blanc. @littledonkeyboston

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Fried farro, kimchi, burdock, Thai herbs & egg @littledonkeyboston

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Specialties & Resources

Based on the menus at his restaurants, you wouldn’t think Jamie ever had anything less than an insatiable appetite for meat; however, Jamie recalled in an interview in 2013 that he was a vegetarian when he was younger, and when working in a kitchen, his boss threatened to fire him if he didn’t start eating animals. Whatever his boss’ motivation for issuing such an ultimatum, the culinary world is better off for it.

At Coppa, the menu is more traditional Italian fare, with a focus on smaller items such as salumi plates, cheese plates, and snacks like mortadella pimento formaggio, Thumbelina carrot hummus with black garlic and leek giardiniera, Island creek oysters with cucumber, yuzu kosho and cilantro, hanger steak with blue cheese butter, charred shishito and marjoram salsa verde, squid ink pasta with snail sugo, nduja butter and parsley, white pizza with bone marrow, roasted beef heart and fresh horseradish, and whipped lardo with clementine, honey and chervil. At Toro, the tapas plates include ensalada (gem lettuce with carrots, sunchokes, migas, cucumbers, tahini dressing and mahon cheese), escalivada catalana (smoked eggplant with onions, peppers and tomatoes with sherry vinegar and olive oil), and aged duck ham.

Zakary Pelaccio

Zakary Pelaccio
269.64
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @Fish-and-Game

Instagram: @zakarypelaccio

With the explosion of farm-to-table cuisine, more and more chefs are picking up stakes and going to the farm (rather than having it come to them). Zakary Pelaccio, once a city-dweller and now found in the Hudson Valley, is one such chef. As the culinary mind behind Brooklyn’s first gastropub, Fatty Crab, Zak made his mark in the culinary world by taking traditional Malaysian dishes and adding his own signature flair. One of the ways Zakary revolutionized the New York City culinary scene is by being the first to embrace the “nose-to-tail” movement, and his legacy lives on in his best-selling cookbook, “Eat With Your Hands.”

After leaving the Fatty Crew restaurant group, Zakary made his way to the Hudson Valley, opening his new space Fish & Game to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Fish & Game has been named one of “America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants” by Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2015 and 2016; in addition, it was a 2014 James Beard Award semifinalist for “Best New Restaurant” and a 2015 James Beard Award finalist for “Outstanding Restaurant Design.” Zakary himself is also the recently-crowned winner of the James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: Northeast,” and he looks to continue to grow his legacy in his new home.

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Proper, rich, perfectly dark croissants and pain au chocolat chocolat @fishgamehudson

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Porridge of kings

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Specialties & Resources

Zakary gained notoriety for his wholehearted (and successful) embrace of Malaysian cuisine, but the menu at Fish & Game shows that he’s far more than a one-trick pony. With a varied menu that draws upon all the local and regional flora and fauna, Zakary is able to create dishes that can hardly be replicated elsewhere.

Menu items include wood-grilled shishitos with tuna bottarga; burrata with salted chilies, cultured cream and grilled bread; fluke crudo in smoked tomato water with coriander; prosciutto with butter-poached turnips and sumac; wood oven-roasted snails with seasoned brioche crumbs, lardo and chili; melon salad with kimchi and herbs; lamb tartare with chilies, chick pea panisse and husk cherries; olive oil-poached shrimp with okra puree and sambal; lamb ragu with rosemary and red wine; squid ink linguini with clams, garlic and white wine; wood oven-roasted duck with rice and tangerine mostarda; lobster-stuffed whole trout with wilted romaine and diavolo sauce; and smoked pig shoulder with naem sausage, loin & belly and condimenti.

And for those who miss Zakary’s Malaysian cooking, don’t fret- he opened a new restaurant on Hudson’s main street called Bakar at BackBar, signaling that he hasn’t forgotten his roots.

Dominique Ansel

Dominique Ansel
269.97
SOCIAL SCORE

If you’re a fan of pastries, then the name Dominique Ansel should already be known to you. Dominique has operated his eponymous bakery since 2011 in New York City, earning himself (and his business) plenty of awards in the intervening 5 years. Within four months of the Dominique Ansel Bakery opening, it earned both TimeOut New York magazine’s “Best New Bakery of 2012” award and Metronomix’s “Best Bakery of 2012.” The bakery was also the highest-ranking bakery according to the 2013 Zagat guide, and Daily Meal listed it as one of the “Best Bakeries in the U.S.”

Before opening his own shop, Dominique worked as the executive pastry chef at Daniel Boulud’s flagship restaurant Daniel before striking out on his own. And like his bakery, Dominique has garnered plenty of accolades. In 2009, Dominique was named one of the “Top 10 Pastry Chefs in the U.S.” by Dessert Magazine; in 2013, he was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef” and was named one of Business Insider magazine’s “Most Innovative People Under 40.” In 2014, Dominique won the James Beard Foundation award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef.” All of this is due in large part to his invention of the Cronut, a croissant-donut hybrid that sparked a media frenzy and created a huge market for illegal imitation cronuts, making Dominique the first chef on this list to lay the foundation for black-market pastries. 

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Specialties & Resources

If one were to use one word to describe Dominique’s approach to cooking, it would be “inventiveness.” It has often been said that while cooking is a science, baking is an art, and Dominique has established himself as an artist of the highest caliber. In addition to the Cronut, Dominique has also invented Frozen S’mores, Magic Souffle, the Cookie Shot, and Waffle Affogato.

The menu at Dominique Ansel Bakery demonstrates Dominique’s flair for whimsy. Offerings include the “Perfect Little Egg Sandwich” with eggs, herbs and gruyere cheese served in a mini brioche bun; the DKA (“Dominique’s Kouign Amann”), flaky and tender bread with caramelized layers; the Cronut; blackberry peanut butter rum Bostock; Nutella milk bread (milk brioche filled with Nutella); spinach gruyere quiche, roasted pork club sandwich with pickled eggs, tomatoes, Bibb lettuce and spicy mayonnaise; chicken salad pancetta sandwich with confit garlic crème fraiche dressing, sage and arugula; grilled cheese with mozzarella, gruyere, and fontina cheese with garlic rosemary sourdough and caramelized onion marmalade; smoked mozzarella wild mushroom panini with marinated artichokes; and smoked summer gazpacho with crème fraiche, chervil and parmesan crisps. Not only is Dominique a master of the art of baking, he’s also quite the scientist when it comes to cooking.

Alex Stupak

262.75
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @alexstupak.empellon

Instagram: @empellon

Many chefs have gained kitchen experience at a young age, but very few could be considered “boy wonders” in the kitchen. Alex Stupak is, of course, the exception. Alex began his culinary career at the age of 12, convincing a local restaurant owner that he was of legal age to work in a kitchen in order to secure a spot.

By the time he was a senior in high school, Alex had begun competing in national culinary competitions, and he had garnered enough attention and acclaim to earn himself a full scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America. Following his externship at Boston’s Clio restaurant in the pastry station, Alex eventually worked his way through Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago and wd-50, and though he had no plans to become a pastry chef at first, Alex saw opportunities to move up the ladder in that department.

Finally, Alex had the opportunity to open his own space, and Empellón Cocina in New York City’s East Village was the culmination of a lifetime spent working towards this goal. Since then, Alex has seen his profile steadily rise, and he is an obvious choice for a place on this list.

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Bacon, egg and cheese taco time. @brunchboys #empellon #tacos #🌮 #brunch

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Tomorrow's brunch situation. Get involved with some steak and eggs. @nobread #empellon #brunch

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Chicken tender tacos with pickled potato salad because #tacotuesday #empellon #tacos #🌮

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Specialties & Resources

Alex’s varied culinary background shines through in the menu at Empellón, where traditional Mexican dishes are blended with Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, European and Eastern influences.

Offerings include guacamole with pistachios; Spanish prawns with chintestle mayonnaise; boiled peanuts with pickled vegetables and hot sauce; chicken meatballs with mole poblano; kumamoto oysters with campechana water and ketchup oil; melted cheese with brussels sprouts and pumpkin seeds; falafel tacos with hummus and charred cucumber salsa; fried Maine smelt tacos with jalapeno relish and lime mayonnaise; shishito pepper tacos with an onion-cream sauce; mortadella tacos with chiles, olives and capers; ramen noodles with pozole broth, roast pork and soft-boiled egg; sliced mango salad with crab, chile powder and lime; sweet corn with epazote flan and toasted garlic dressing; fluke ceviche with currant tomatoes; squid with black mole, nugget potatoes and chorizo mayonnaise; smoked lamb shoulder with drunken salsa, lobster roll with chipotle, papalo and potato chips, skirt steak with burnt serrano sauce; grilled sea bream with golden tomatillo and crispy rice salad; and Hokkaido uni on toast with egg salad and sunflower seeds.

April Bloomfield

April Bloomfield
271.59
SOCIAL SCORE

Despite the common refrain that British cuisine doesn’t compare to that of its European counterparts, there is something comforting about the traditional dishes of England. And though we don’t hear about too many British chefs aside from Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay here in the States, April Bloomfield has certainly earned her place on this list.

Born in Birmingham, UK, April originally wanted to become a police officer, but decided instead to attend catering college with her sister. Upon graduating from catering college, April moved to London to work at Kensington Place and Bibendum before moving to New York to work at The River Café. It was at The River Café where April believes she truly learned the art of cooking, and when Mario Batali asked her to open a bistro-style restaurant, she jumped at the chance. The result was The Spotted Pig, opened in 2004; in 2005, the gastropub earned a Michelin star. Following up on the success of The Spotted Pig, April opened The Breslin in New York’s Ace Hotel, and naturally, The Breslin earned a Michelin star as well.

Since then, April has opened Salvation Taco, revamped and reopened Tosca Café in San Francisco, and in February of this year, opened Salvation Burger in New York’s Pod 51 Hotel. 

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Specialties & Resources

It might seem odd to consider that chefs from other countries are now adopting an American style of cooking, but that’s exactly what April has done. Before opening The Spotted Pig, April worked at Chez Panisse in order to make herself comfortable cooking with American ingredients. The menus at her various restaurants reflect her commitment to American cuisine, and there’s just enough of a European twist to remind us where April came from.

At The Spotted Pig, the menu is deceptively no-frills, but what the dishes appear to lack in ingredients, they make up for in flavor. Offerings include bibb salad with shaved radish & mustard vinaigrette; stracciatella with heirloom tomatoes, squash & basil; rabbit rillettes with mustard, pickles & toast; crispy pig’s ear salad with lemon caper dressing; scallops with anchovy chili mayonnaise, sucrine lettuce & cilantro; grilled skirt steak with broccoli rabe, romesco sauce & Cipollini onions; and black bass with summer squash, anchovy & sun golds.

At The Breslin, the menu includes items like curried lamb shank with crispy potato, mint yogurt, pickled eggplant & mango chutney; Cornish rock hen with chanterelles, spinach & thyme; pork shoulder with porchetta rub, rosemary aioli, roasted fennel & arugula; dover sole with morel, squash, snow peas, sorrel & lemon balm cream; and lamb & halloumi sausage with pickled green tomatoes, puffed rice, green beans & yogurt.