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. 

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charcoal-grilled beef short rib, pear & kimchi

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oven roasted foie gras with a chanterelle mushroom chutney

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charcoal grilled quail, white peaches, piccalilli & jus

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

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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.

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

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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!

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Mentaiko pasta. It's the jam.

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Huevos hipsteros.. quinoa instead of tortillas.

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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.

Top Dishes

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

A photo posted by Jamie Bissonnette (@jamiebiss) on

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

A photo posted by Jamie Bissonnette (@jamiebiss) on

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

A photo posted by Jamie Bissonnette (@jamiebiss) on

 

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.

Top Dishes

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

A photo posted by Zakary Pelaccio (@zakarypelaccio) on

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.

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.

Ken Oringer

Ken Oringer
274.56
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @kenoringer

Instagram: @kenoringer

Most people voted “Most Likely to Succeed” often find themselves failing under the weight of such expectations. But Ken Oringer, who received the title from his classmates at the Culinary Institute of America, has indeed found success. After graduating, Ken worked at the River Café in New York, then as a pastry chef at Al Forno in Providence, before running Terra Ristorante Italiano in Greenwich; it was at Terra that he received three stars from the New York Times. Deciding to pull up stakes and head for the west coast, Ken moved to San Francisco in 1992, where he served as chef de cuisine at Silks in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, a move which firmly cemented him on the map.

After a few years out west, Ken returned to the east coast, first working at Tosca in Hingham, MA (which was named “Best Restaurant on the South Shore”), then opening Clio in the Eliot Hotel in Boston. Ken was nominated for a James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: Northeast” in 1998 and 1999, and in 2001, he finally secured the award. Since then, Ken has opened a sashimi bar (Uni), an Italian enoteca (Coppa), two tapas bar locations (Toro), and an organic restaurant (Earth at Hidden Pond).

Top Dishes

Zucca e zucca @coppaboston Perfect sunny day pasta here in the south end. #patiolife #boston

A photo posted by Ken Oringer (@kenoringer) on

OG Uni carbonara still my fave @coppaboston #bostonoriginal

A photo posted by Ken Oringer (@kenoringer) on

Spain speaking to me @toroboston today! #tapas #southend #summer

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Memorial Day crab feast thai style w curry and roe @toro_bkk #72courtyard #thonglor #cravethaifood

A photo posted by Ken Oringer (@kenoringer) on

 

Specialties & Resources

As the vast list of restaurants Ken has opened demonstrates, Ken is no stranger to all different kinds of cuisine. At Uni, the focus is on Asian cuisine, and offerings include smoked uni spoon with yuzu, quail egg yolk and chives; norumbega oyster with oxalis and white currant, grilled peach with yuzu ricotta, sea bean and spoonbill caviar, Thai pork neck yakitori with sweet and sour bok choy; crispy rice balls with bone marrow, uni crema and sun-dried tomatoes; Japanese milk bread with yellow chive and Chinese sausage; and beef shor trib bulgogi tostadas with ssam sauce and pickles.

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, Island creek oysters with cucumber, yuzu kosho and cilantro, 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. Finally, at Earth at Hidden Pond, Ken provides an all-organic take on contemporary American food, with items such as wood-fired ribeye with heirloom squash, salsa verde, potato salad and peekytoe crab, and whole-roasted bass with fideos, eggplant, smoked bacon, garden herbs, and black mission figs.

Dan Barber

Dan Barber
276.82
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @BlueHillFarm

Instagram: @ChefDanBarber

There are very few stories as appealing as “local boy makes good,” and Dan Barber’s success is no exception. Born and raised in New York City, Dan attended the French Culinary Institute before opening his first restaurant, Manhattan’s Blue Hill, in the spring of 2000. Blue Hill has long been considered one of the best restaurants in New York City, just as Dan has been considered one of the best chefs not just in the city, but in the world.

In 2002, Dan was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs,” and he is the recipient of three separate awards from the James Beard Foundation: the 2006 award for “Best Chef: New York City,”  the 2009 award for “Outstanding Chef,” and the 2009 title of “Top Chef in America.” Also in 2009, Dan was named as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”

Following on the success of Blue Hill in Manhattan, Dan opened Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York in 2004, on the property of the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture (a non-profit farm established by David Rockefeller and his daughter, Peggy Dulany). 

Top Dishes

potato wannabe: double-stuffed sunchoke

A photo posted by Dan Barber (@chefdanbarber) on

4/4 -- Mazourek's tromboncino, Badger Flame beet bolognese, Malabar spinach

A photo posted by Dan Barber (@chefdanbarber) on

3/3. Michael Mazourek cucumber, fish cream, caviar

A photo posted by Dan Barber (@chefdanbarber) on

2/2 -- beets & parsnips, cooked for 12 hours with smoke & fire

A photo posted by Dan Barber (@chefdanbarber) on

 

Specialties & Resources

Dan has written numerous articles about food and agricultural policies, and his thoughts have been published in the New York Times, Gourmet magazine, The Nation, Saveur magazine, and Food & Wine magazine. The articles are centered around his belief that we should maintain a level of consciousness when it comes to our food choices and the sustainability of our food, and Dan abides by those principles at Blue Hill.

The menu at Blue Hill can best be described as “farm-to-table contemporary American,” and it includes offerings such as curried zucchini and almonds with sunflower seeds, raspberries and onion-bacon broth; grilled peach with fennel, watermelon and tomato; farm-fried egg with potatoes, pig’s belly, shiitake mushrooms and garden greens; chicken wings with wax beans, whole-grain mustard and parsley; lightly-smoked tomato soup with nectarines, cheddar and buckwheat, and stone barns pig with field radish and concord grapes.

At Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Dan utilizes the bounty of the surrounding farmland to create elegant, refined dishes that change day-to-day, and in both cases, his commitment to sustainable dishes that draw as much as possible from local resources is clear.

Jose Garces

Jose Garces
277.85
SOCIAL SCORE

With shows like “Top Chef” and “Iron Chef” dominating the airwaves, it is clear that the public is more interested than ever in trying to understand and replicate the art of cooking. The downside to this, however, is that when seeing chefs work their magic on TV, many people get the mistaken impression that cooking isn’t nearly as hard as they’ve been led to believe. All they need to do is take a look at Jose Garces to see what makes the difference between an amateur chef and a master of the craft.

Jose is the winner of the 2009 James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic,” and his Season 2 win on “Iron Chef” makes him one of only a few American chefs to hold that distinction. Jose began his culinary education in his grandmother’s kitchen, and he has honed his skills while running The Garces Group’s fourteen restaurants in the United States. His most well-known establishments are Amada, Tinto and Garces Trading Company, where Jose puts his mastery of the craft on display in a variety of different settings. Jose’s inclusion on this list is no surprise, as is his continued success.

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Specialties & Resources

Jose draws upon his years of experience in European kitchens to create fresh, inventive takes on classic meals. At Garces Trading Company, Jose aims to convey the traditional European bistro experience. Offerings include black lentil fritters with smoked tomato aioli, Lyonnaise duck salad with poached egg, bacon lardons and mustard vinaigrette, pappardelle with lamb ragu, chicken paillard with pistachio & tarragon vinaigrette and watercress, and a fisherman’s stew with mussels, white fish, smoked mackerel lardons and leek cream.

At Tinto, Jose draws upon his cultural influences to make vibrant Spanish cuisine. The menu includes items such as braised short ribs with bacon, asparagus and celery root aioli, tuna tartare with pickled guindilla and chorizo aioli, spiced meatballs with piperade and poached egg, truffled chestnut soup with duck & mushroom hash, fried quail egg and pistachio, and kobe beef with pisto bilbaina and romesco.

Finally, at Amada, Jose builds on the traditional tapas structure with dishes such as clams with chorizo and almonds, serrano ham & fig salad with cabrales and spiced almonds, white asparagus soup with mushroom, duck butifarra and pistachio, beef short rib with horseradish, parmesan and bacon, Catalan garlic sausage with piquillo pepper confit, san simon and spinach, and lobster & seafood paella with fava bean salad and pimento aioli.

 

Andrew Carmellini

Andrew Carmellini
279.82
SOCIAL SCORE

Widely regarded as one of America’s premier chefs, Andrew Carmellini’s place on this list could rightfully be considered a foregone conclusion. On weekends while studying at the CIA (the cooking institute, not the government institution), Andrew got his start cooking for a well-known client: New York Governor Mario Cuomo. After graduation, Andrew traveled around Europe to learn the finer points of Italian and French cuisine, and then promptly went to work as Daniel Boulud’s chef de cuisine at Café Boulud in 1998.

During his time at Café Boulud, Andrew earned two James Beard Awards, a “Best New Chef” award from Food & Wine magazine, and a three-star review from the New York Times. With his star on the rise, Andrew took the opportunity in 2009 to open his own place: Locanda Verde in New York’s trendy TriBeCa neighborhood. Locanda Verde, which serves traditional Italian dishes, was a James Beard Award nominee for “Best New Restaurant” in 2010.

Piggybacking off of the success of Locanda Verde, in 2011 Andrew opened The Dutch, a contemporary American restaurant in New York’s SoHo district. And as a way to return to his roots in French cuisine, Andrew opened Lafayette. in April 2013. Of course, Andrew has never forgotten his love of Italian cuisine, which led him to open Bar Primi, a casual pasta shop in 2014.

Top Dishes

"Do you see the light? Have you seen the light?" James Brown @lafayette380

A photo posted by Andrew Carmellini (@andrewcarmellini) on

Pumpkin don't have to be just in a pie #ice 🇮🇹💰

A photo posted by Andrew Carmellini (@andrewcarmellini) on

Paccheri with Sunday Night Ragu and Provolone Picante @locandaverde On the menu since day one #classic style

A photo posted by Andrew Carmellini (@andrewcarmellini) on

 

Specialties & Resources

As a result of his travels around Europe, Andrew’s specialties are, naturally, French and Italian cuisine. At Locanda Verde, the menu consists of traditional Italian fare, with dishes such as tagliatelle with fava bean, Sicilian pistachio and pecorino, lasagnette verde with white veal Bolognese and aged parmesan, and roasted suckling pig with cannellini beans and fennel marmalade.

At The Dutch, Andrew’s offerings trend more towards traditional American fare, with offerings such as skillet-roasted chicken with carrots, greens and peach barbecue sauce, grilled pork chop with blue cheese, melon, leek and balsamic vinaigrette, and steamed halibut with tomato, saffron and romano beans.

Lastly, at Lafayette, Andrew reminds us that it’s not just anybody who can work with Daniel Boulud, with selections such as tortellini “duck a l’orange” with endive and cracklings, spaghetti niçoise with rare & confit tuna and basil, and roasted duck with super-green swiss chard, fall radish and huckleberry sauce.

Enrique Olvera

Enrique Olvera
279.91
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @EnriqueOlvera

Instagram: @enriqueolveraf

As a chef, mentorships are a crucial component of ensuring that the field avoids becoming stagnant, as well as guaranteeing that the traditions of great cooking are passed down through the generations. Fortunately, with stewards such as Enrique Olvera, we can be assured that the art of cooking isn’t going anywhere. Enrique has served as mentor to another member of this list, Daniela Soto-Innes, and she has grown to be a star chef in her own right. But don’t overlook Enrique’s accomplishments- he’s a legendary chef in his own right.

Enrique’s first solo effort was Pujol in Mexico City, opened in 2000. Pujol served as Enrique’s statement to the culinary world: “Don’t overlook Mexican cuisine,” and they listened. Enrique’s passion for keeping Mexican culture alive through its cuisine shone through in his dishes, so it’s no surprise that Pujol ranked #20 on the 2014 list of “The World’s Best Restaurants” and #6 on “Latin America’s Best Restaurants.”

Following on the success of Pujol, Enrique opened Cosme in New York City in 2014, and it remains one of the standout restaurants for Mexican fare in the country. And with Enrique’s commitment to mentoring other chefs, it’s a sure bet that his culinary genius won’t be fading away.

Top Dishes

Lamb barbacoa, shishitos, quelites, avocado, salsas (available for weekend brunch)

A photo posted by Cosme (@cosmenyc) on

Matcha gananche, buttermilk-ginger sorbet, cornmeal sable, kiwi

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Quinoa salad, black sesame, nopal, watercress... Cosme's new lunch menu

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Now open for lunch | Picture: Fish a la talla | Reservations: @opentable

A photo posted by Cosme (@cosmenyc) on

 

Specialties & Resources

At Cosme, the focus is on contemporary Mexican-inspired cuisine, but naturally, there is a bit of culinary overlap. Enrique and the team at Cosme also use local and seasonal ingredients from New York’s Hudson Valley to round out their dishes and provide a unique flavor, while still maintaining the traditional roots of Mexican cuisine. Some of the offerings include sliced raw fish with poblano, finger lime, avocado and black lime, cobia al pastor with pineapple puree and cilantro, huarache with razor clams, lime kosho and marcona almonds, buffalo mozzarella with epazote, garlic mojo and greens, and duck carnitas with onions, radishes and cilantro.

At Pujol, Enrique uses the local resources available to him to create dishes such as lobster tostada with recado blanco and chipotle mayonnaise, suckling pig tago with smoked tortilla, chickpea puree, coriander and red jalapeno, amarillito tamal with fava beans and swiss chard, and rabbit with red pepian, chorizo, carrot and lettuce.

Enrique considers it his duty to preserve Mexican culture through his dishes, and his decades-long exploration of the many ways in which the culture can be represented is evident in the meals he makes.

Daniela Soto-Innes

Daniela Soto-Innes
279.95
SOCIAL SCORE

Facebook: @CosmeNYC

Instagram: @DanielaSotoInnes

At the age of 25, Daniela Soto-Innes has already received as many accolades as some chefs do in their entire careers, so it should come as no surprise that she’s made this list. (Of course, most chefs don’t start interning at the age of 15.) Born and raised in Mexico before moving to the United States when she was 12 years old, Daniela’s interest in a cooking career began when a chef from the local Marriott visited her school to talk about his job. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, Daniela traveled and staged in Europe, New York, Mexico and Texas.

At Pujol in Mexico City, Daniela worked with Enrique Olvera, and when Olvera decided to open up a restaurant in New York City, he brought Daniela along as his chef de cuisine at his new endeavor Cosme, where she remains today.

Naturally, a prodigy such as Daniela has received her fair share of accolades. In 2015, Daniela received a “Rising Star Chef” award from StarChefs, followed by a “Rising Star Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation in 2016. Daniela has also been featured in Bon Appetit and Lucky Peach, and if history is any indication, we’re going to be seeing a lot more of her in the future.

Top Dishes

Always wondered how an angel kiss tasted like.... Beso de ángel, betabel. 😇

A photo posted by Daniela Soto-Innes (@danielasotoinnes) on

🌶😈

A photo posted by Daniela Soto-Innes (@danielasotoinnes) on

De limón... Clásico 😏

A photo posted by Daniela Soto-Innes (@danielasotoinnes) on

 

Specialties & Resources

At Cosme, the focus is on contemporary Mexican-inspired cuisine, but naturally, there is a bit of culinary overlap. Daniela and the team at Cosme also use local and seasonal ingredients from New York’s Hudson Valley to round out their dishes and provide a unique flavor, while still maintaining the traditional roots of Mexican cuisine.

The fare at Cosme is a reflection of Daniela and Olvera’s shared Mexican heritage, but with enough of a cosmopolitan twist to keep things interesting and fresh. Some of the offerings include sliced raw fish with poblano, finger lime, avocado and black lime, cobia al pastor with pineapple puree and cilantro, huarache with razor clams, lime kosho and marcona almonds, buffalo mozzarella with epazote, garlic mojo and greens, and duck carnitas with onions, radishes and cilantro.

As Olvera’s chef de cuisine, it’s clear that Daniela has found the perfect fit for her unique style and skills in the kitchen, just as it’s clear that Cosme is better off for having her on the team. For now, we’ll have to content ourselves with the great work she continues to do at Cosme, but don’t be surprised if we see Daniela headlining her own kitchen in the very near future.

Bryan Voltaggio

Bryan Voltaggio.jpg
280.12
SOCIAL SCORE

As one half of the chef duo that has taken the culinary world by storm in recent years, Bryan along with his brother Michael have helped expand the limits of modern cuisine and the emotions it evokes in their customers. Bryan and Michael have tackled different culinary styles in their restaurants, but it’s safe to say that their daring approach to cooking is a common thread that unites the two brothers.

Like his brother, Bryan has taken a different tack in redefining what we consider modern cuisine; unlike his brother, however, Bryan has done it in the realm of American and Italian food. Bryan is the co-owner and executive chef of five restaurants: AGGIO, Lunchbox, Family Meal, RANGE, and VOLT, all in the Chesapeake Bay area of the mid-Atlantic United States. Bryan’s profile has certainly been helped by his second-place finish on Season 6 of “Top Chef” and his second-place finish on Season 5 of “Top Chef Masters” (the first chef to take part in both competitions). But the accolades don’t stop there: in 2010, Bryan was nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” award, and in 2012, he was a semi-finalist for the same award from James Beard.

Top Dishes

Scallop @voltresto

A photo posted by Bryan Voltaggio (@bryanvoltaggio) on

Pork Jowl pumpernickel, pickling spice, oysters, and purslane @voltresto

A photo posted by Bryan Voltaggio (@bryanvoltaggio) on

Lasagna Bolognese, come and get it!!! #stacksonstacksonstacks 20+ layers basil smoked pecorino

A photo posted by Bryan Voltaggio (@bryanvoltaggio) on

 

Specialties & Resources

Bryan considers himself a “true son of the Chesapeake,” which becomes clear when you view the menus at his establishments. At VOLT, Bryan puts modern twists on traditional American seafood, with offerings such as scallops with green tomato ceviche, cucumber, red onion and radish, yellowfin tuna with charred avocado, smoked beet and rose vinegar, calamari Bolognese with squid cavatelli, pepperoni and parmesan, and smoked pepper orecchiette with Maryland blue crab, tomato, coconut, curry and pepperoni.

At AGGIO, Bryan turns his sights to traditional Italian fare, injecting a modern flavor into longtime favorite dishes. The menu includes Tonnarelli Nero with blue crab, squid ink, uni, jalapeño and pepperoni crumb, lasagna with lamb ragu, basil and sheep milk ricotta, chicken cacciatore with peppadews, tomato, castelvetrano olives and cipollini onions, and branzino with zucchini, olive vinaigrette and capers.

Bryan’s continued drive to update what we consider “traditional” American and Italian fare is his strongest suit as a chef. And as long as his creations continue to challenge the way we view our classic dishes, we’ll be happy to try whatever he comes up with next.

Spike Mendelsohn

Spike Mendelsohn
280.34
SOCIAL SCORE

Very few (if any) chefs on this list can claim First Lady Michelle Obama as one of their most frequent customers, but Spike Mendelsohn is in a class by himself. You may recognize Spike from his frequent appearances on “Top Chef,” “Bar Rescue,” CBS’ “Early Show” and “Iron Chef,” but don’t think of him as just a TV chef; Spike has also won the Francis Roth Leadership Award and Burger Bash 2009.

Born in Montreal, Quebec and raised in Florida, Spike began his culinary career at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). After graduating from the CIA, Spike worked in kitchens around the globe, including in Gerard Boyer’s kitchen in Reims, France, with Thomas Keller in Napa Valley, with Sirio Maccioni at Le Cirque, and at New York City’s Mai House.

In 2008, Spike opened his first solo restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, D.C. (one of the First Lady’s local restaurants of choice). Since then, he has opened two locations of We, The Pizza, and next door to Good Stuff Eatery, he opened Béarnaise; all of his restaurants have received overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Top Dishes

Lettuce dance. #goodstuffeatery #cobbsalad

A photo posted by Good Stuff Eatery (@goodstuffeatery) on

Double the trouble. #goodstuffeatery

A photo posted by Good Stuff Eatery (@goodstuffeatery) on

Get your roasted butternut squash on! #wethepizza

A photo posted by We, The Pizza (@wethepizza) on

Open wide. 📷: @imwithwoo #bearnaise

A photo posted by Béarnaise (@bearnaiserestaurant) on

 

Specialties & Resources

As the latest in a long line of chefs in his family, Spike has been exposed to the dining industry for long enough that he knew exactly what he wanted out of his solo restaurants. He once said in an interview with Serious Eats, “Fine dining, white tablecloths, tasting menus-it all seems really played out.” At We, The Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery, Spike’s main focus is on classic American dishes- using his considerable prowess and lifetime of training, Spike is able to inject some panache into what would otherwise be dull meals in the hands of a less-experienced chef. Dishes such as the Spike’s Sunnyside (made with fresh cheese, applewood bacon and a farm-fresh fried egg on a brioche bun) and the Michelle Melt (free-range turkey burger with caramelized onions, swiss, ruby tomato and lettuce served on a wheat bun) speak to his capacity to make even the most traditional of American meals fresh and inviting.

At Béarnaise, the focus is more on traditional French cuisine. Spike’s crispy duck breast with orange kaffir lime glaze, pickled shiitake mushrooms, bok choy and a crispy spring roll add an Asian flair to a traditionally French offering, while the braised short rib with celery root & carrot purée, bordelaise and pickled gooseberries trends more towards the “traditional” side.