Never one to sit around and wait for things to happen, New Jersey native Kevin Sbraga overcame his camera-shy sensibilities to win Top Chef Season 7 in 2010, catapulting himself to reality-TV fame and setting the stage for his future restaurants to join the country’s coveted shortlist of must-dine destinations.
Though he graduated with a degree in English and political science, John Manion decided to abandon his burgeoning public relations career to pursue a love of cooking full-time, eventually turning a popular Brazilian pop-up into the successful Chicago restaurant, La Sirena Clandestina.
Frank McClelland has built a distinguished career on marrying New England flavors with French classics, bringing the first hints of haute cuisine — and a commitment to using fresh, local ingredients — to Boston over three decades ago. His L’Espalier restaurant has garnered countless awards and accolades over the years, and in 2007 he earned the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Northeast. He recently filled us in on the biggest change he’s seen in the restaurant industry, what he’s most grateful for and the secrets to his success.
For American restaurant culture, 2015 was the year of enthusiastic nautical decor (boat ropes, life-sized buoys, wooden ship’s wheels, we could go on), many a smoked dish (finishing everything from briny olives to mashed potatoes over a smoldering flame) and even more elaborate cocktails (hand-cut herbs and rare spirits we understand but artisanal ice? Color us impressed).
Growing up the youngest of six children with a single mom, Trish Tracey learned from an early age how to cook — and fend — for herself. By the time she got to high school, she’d mastered making quick family meals and Home Ec, paving the way for a successful career in the culinary arts. We chatted with the restaurateur about the ins and outs of running San Francisco’s Myriad Gastro Pub, the rise of more casual fine dining and her favorite place to grab a late-night burrito.
Chef Mads Refslund’s “New Nordic” approach reflects his quest to explore the origin of every element behind each dish he creates. Refslund was one of the original co-founders of Copenhagen’s Noma restaurant, which went on to receive two Michelin Stars and has been ranked the best restaurant in the world four times.
Jesse Schenker has never been one to take it easy. The executive owner and chef of NYC restaurants recette and The Gander owns over 350 cookbooks, admitting that he “eats, sleeps, breathes and reads all things food.” We caught up with him recently about why the New York dining scene is so unique, the job he’d had if he weren’t a restaurateur and what it means to be “schpilky.”
Jamie Bissonnette always knew he was meant to cook. From that first memory of a juicy orange quenching his adolescent, soccer-induced thirst to admiring shiny, shimmering TV kitchens on the small screen as a teenager, he’s been fascinated with food and dining for as long as he can remember. We recently spoke with this chef and co-owner of Boston’s Coppa and Toro (now in Boston and NYC).
Bill Kim’s life has been a series of disparate yet complementary stages. Born in Korea and educated in Chicago, he spent two decades meticulously preparing fine French cuisine under a series of renowned chefs only to branch out on his own, leaping into the world of casual Asian-inspired food and an entrepreneurial adventure just a few years ago.
Matt Jennings has plenty to be proud of. Father, husband, successful restaurateur and chef, this 12+ year industry veteran has racked up multiple nominations from The James Beard Foundation and a devoted following of enthusiastic restaurant patrons. Townsman, his wildly popular brasserie-inspired Boston restaurant, proudly serves some of the best seasonal dishes in New England.