Talented chefs don’t always get the credit they are due. Hidden in restaurant kitchens, they plan and prepare delicious dishes for clientele they don’t always see face to face. Instead, they let their food speak for them. But these up-and-coming top chefs are going beyond memorable dishes; they’re inventing flavor combinations, pushing limits and trying new things. As they standout in their fields, these are the chefs to watch in years to come.
Chef Brett Cooper
San Francisco, California
Originally from Colorado, Chef Cooper spent years in kitchens in Aspen and Western Colorado before coming to San Francisco for culinary school. Now the owner and chef of Mission restaurant Aster, Chef Cooper strives to create authentic California favorites with a modern and artful presentation. Cooper has garnered attention by drawing a fine and interesting line between casual and fine dining. Chef Cooper has been named a Rising Star Chef by San Francisco Magazine.
Chef Nina Compton
New Orleans, Louisiana
Caribbean flavors combine seamlessly with Southern favorites and with French, Haitian and Creole influences in Chef Compton’s cooking. Originally from St. Lucia, Compton, featured on Bravo’s Top Chef in season 11, has drawn inspiration from her past to develop the personality of the food she cooks. And her food has been applauded for pairing her own heritage so well with that of her adopted New Orleans. Chef Compton’s restaurant Compere Lapin places the focus of each meal on the time spent in good company at the dinner table, and has been called “one of NOLA’s hottest restaurants” by Martha Stewart Weddings.
Chef Thai Dang
Born in Vietnam and raised in Virginia, Chef Dang is inspired by authentic flavors over family dinners. He grew to see food as a method of communication, a practice that continued through his education in French cuisine and now inspires, HaiSous, the Vietnamese-inspired restaurant he runs with his wife in Chicago. As a top chef, Dang works to pair the flavors of Southeast Asia with French techniques. The results are bold flavors and textures dubbed “Progressive Asian” cuisine. Chef Dang has been named Rising Chef of the Year by Chicago’s Jean Banchet and is twice nominated for Food and Wine People’s Choice Chef of the year.
Chef William S. Dissen
Asheville, North Carolina
Inspired by his grandmother’s garden-to-table cooking, Chef Dissen pours this sustainable and local ethos into his menus at The Market Place in Asheville, North Carolina. Educated in kitchens along the East Coast, Dissen has focused his expertise on sustainable practices to achieve high-quality and high-flavored dishes for his restaurant. “There is no cuisine without gardens and farmers,” says Chef Dissen. Named a Culinary Diplomat by the James Beard Foundation and American Chef Corps, Dissen is a “chef statesmen” representing America’s cuisine and ingredients. He has been awarded the “Seafood Watch Ambassador” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and named to the Blue Ribbon Task Force for his focus on sustainable seafood practices.
Chef Katy Peetz
New York City, New York
This Mid-western girl turned pastry chef grew up with the meat and potatoes of her mother’s dinner table as inspiration. A college restaurant job in Omaha, Nebraska, inspired Peetz into the industry, and she worked her way from line cook to pastry chef in some of New York City’s better-known restaurants, including Roberta’s and Blanca. “To me the perfect ending is something cold, acidic, and refreshing, like ice cream,” Chef Peetz told First We Feast. Star Chefs named Peetz a Rising Star Pastry Chef. Peetz is currently working on Monkey Town 3, a Brooklyn-based pop-up restaurant that combines technology with innovative cuisine.
Modern top chefs are combining flavors, textures, ingredients and innovations to create dishes that speak louder than the chefs could speak for themselves. Keep an eye out for these up-and-coming chefs as you travel and dine across the United States, their flavors are sure to define our culinary opinions in the coming years.
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