Quinnton ‘Q’ Austin, culinary director of Grind & Prosper Hospitality based in Cardiff., Calif.
Quinnton Austin is the man behind the menu at Miss B's Coconut Club, Park 101, Louisiana Purchase, Q&A Restaurant and Oyster Bar, Coco Maya, and Cococabana.
Antonio Bachour, chef of Tablé by Antonio Bachour in Miami
Antonio Bachour has shifted from sweet to savory in this venture in the Miami Design District.
Brad Bergaus, corporate chef and director of menu innovation at Taco John’s, based in Cheyenne, Wyo.
Brad Bergaus has worked as a corporate chef for 14 years, including at Taco John’s since 2020. Before that he was manager of culinary product innovation at Buffalo Wild Wings, where he helped revamp that casual-dining chain’s menu. The team at Taco John’s describes him as a “creative culinary genius.”
Aaron Bludorn, chef and owner of Bludorn and Navy Blue in Houston
Aaron Bludorn relocated from New York City to Houston in August of 2020 and brought his team with him, serving French inspired Gulf Coast cuisine.
Brian Brindza, director of culinary & menu innovation at Toppers Pizza, based in Whitewater, Wis.
Brian Brindza joined Toppers Pizza in early 2023 as its first in-house chef. He is a passionate product innovator and has already elevated the brand’s menu offerings and helped to solidify its reputation with items such as the Walking Taco Topper Pizza, which features a new al pastor sauce with charred pineapple and guajillo, pasilla, cayenne, and chipotle pepper, as well garlic, onion, tomato, Mexican oregano, and cumin. It’s topped with taco seasoned beef, tomatoes, crunchy lettuce, sour cream and crushed Doritos tortilla chips
Stephen Burke, executive chef, L’Auberge Provençale, White Post, Va.
Stephen Burke is championing the regional cuisine of the Shenandoah Valley, featuring local foraged and heirloom products.
Kim Canteenwalla, executive chef, principal, and managing director of Blau & Associates, Las Vegas
Kim Canteenwalla provides a diverse range of international expertise with more than 30 years of culinary and industry leadership. He has led restaurants and resorts around the world in locations including Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, Bali, Toronto, and Montreal, and is the former executive chef of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Along with wife Elizabeth Blau, Kim is the Chef-Owner of the acclaimed Las Vegas restaurant Honey Salt and managing partner of Buddy V's Ristorante at The Venetian. In 2017, Chef Canteenwalla conceptualized and developed multiple world-class food and beverage outlets in Vancouver, Canada, which he continues to operate today.
Arthur Carl II, vice president of culinary for IHOP, based in Glendale, Calif.
Chef Arthur Carl II, who joined IHOP’s culinary team in late 2022 is a key leader in driving the recent evolution of the chain’s menu. He brings more than 30 years of experience in the food & beverage industry, serving in several roles for hospitality groups, restaurants, and breweries
Christian Chirino, executive chef of Tur Kitchen in Coral Gables, Fla.
Christian Chirino is inspired by the cuisines of the Mediterranean and sustainable sourcing.
Chad Cliffe and Yolanda Santiago, campus executive chefs for N.C. State University Dining, Raleigh, N.C.
Yolanda Santiago is a certified executive pastry chef who has worked at N.C. State for more than a decade
Chad Cliffe has worked on campus as an executive chef for about four years funning high-level catered events.
Both were promoted to executive chefs in January.
Chris Collins, culinary director, Pindustry in Greenwood Village, Colo.
Chris Collins has transformed the menu of this bowling concept and also opened another restaurant, The Rouge Wine Bar & Patio, with the same company, both operating out of the same kitchen.
Ted Corrado, corporate executive chef of Scale Hospitality in Toronto
With more than 20 years of experience cooking, Ted Corrado has emerged as one of the most influential chefs in the Toronto. In addition to working at some of the most renowned restaurants in the city, Ted was responsible for developing the restaurants at the Royal Ontario Museum and Art Gallery of Ontario, relaunching The Drake Hotel, and repositioning the Summerhill Market into the leading grocery and prepared-food spot in the city. He joined Scale Hospitality in 2021, overseeing the culinary programs at all of its restaurants, and has opened 10 new ones since then.
David Cox, vice president of food & beverage and corporate executive chef of Norms Restaurants, based in Los Angeles
David Cox has been leading culinary innovation at Norms for nearly 20 years, maintaining the 73-year-old diner concept’s principles of “great food, great value and great service,” while also fostering innovation with new items.
Nina Curtis, director & executive chef of Plant’ish & Co. Culinary Arts based in Richmond, Calif.
Nina Curtis, MBA, is a chef specializing in plant-based dishes for a meal subscription company. Before joining Plant’ish, she was director and executive Chef for the Adventist Health Roseville Vitaliz Café and before that was executive chef and chief nutrition officer for another meal subscription service, The Ranch at Live Oak, in Malibu, Calif.
Kristina Dahl, director of hospitality and culinary education at Helms College in Augusta and Macon, Ga.
Kristina Dahl oversees education in culinary arts, baking and pastry, and culinary operations for resorts and clubs at this school while maintaining relationships with clubs, resorts, and restaurants where her students can extern.
Gabriel DeLeon, co-owner and execute e chef, Mi Dia from Scratch, Plano, Grapevine, and Flower Mound, Texas
Gabriel DeLeon blends traditional Mexico City recipes with modern Santa Fe and Tex-Mex flavors at his restaurants. Mi Dia From Scratch has participated in numerous community events including the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival, Dining Out in Dallas benefiting Texas Neurofibromatosis, the Dallas Cowboys Kickoff Luncheon benefiting Happy Hill Farm, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas’s annual holiday celebration and more.
Jeff Disanto, director of culinary for Salad Collective based in Golden, Colo.
Jeff Disanto overseas menu development of fast-casual chains Mad Greens, Snappy Salads, and Tokyo Joe's, with a total of 65 locations in Colorado, Texas, and Arizona.
Parmesh Dutt, assistant professor and chef of Quantum University in Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India
Parmesh Dutt is working on bringing regional cuisines to the forefront, currently focusing on Uttarakhand state in northern India. The government recently recognized him for his work.
Matthew Eland, senior director of culinary & corporate executive chef for Blaze Pizza based in Pasadena, Calif.
Matthew Eland joined Blaze Pizza in August 2022 with more than two decades of culinary and management expertise including work in Las Vegas at Charlie Trotter concepts Restaurant Charlie and Bar Charlie as well as Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood.
He also has worked as chef for multiple stadiums and was research & development chef for SBE Entertainment Group.
Hunter Evans, chef and owner of Elvie’s in Jackson, Miss.
Hunter Evans opened Elvie’s in his hometown in February of 2020 and has received high praise from across the country. This year he has set aside his seasonal menu and is instead focusing on a guest chef series, bringing in top talent from throughout the South.
Richie Farina, executive chef of Adorn Restaurant in Chicago
Richie Farina prides himself on cultivating an environment of continued learning and camaraderie with his team, making serious food without taking things too seriously.
Marty Fay, executive chef of Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters in La Jolla, Calif.
Marty Fay is credited with having turned Sandpiper, sister restaurant to George’s at the Cove, into one of the San Diego area's hottest restaurants.
Ashleigh Fleming, executive chef & managing director, Blue Jay Bistro, Littleton, N.C.
Ashleigh Fleming spearheads owners Ed and Deb Fitts’ vision to cultivate an economic development project that’s bringing jobs and breathing new life into the small, one-square-mile town of Littleton, N.C. These efforts include building a positive work environment for Blue Jay Bistro employees and instilling a responsibility in each to own their individual crafts and responsibilities and trusting them to fulfill their roles.
Fleming also consults for the food programs for Blue Jay Bistro’s sister concepts, Daphne’s Coffee Shop and Main Street Wines.
Jason Fox, executive chef, San Francisco Proper hotel
Jason Fox has spearheaded the culinary program for the hotel's four unique dining concepts: La Bande, Villon, Charmaine's Rooftop Bar & Lounge, and Gilda's Salon dinners. With his extensive knowledge of progressive California cuisine, Fox has elevated the dining experience for guests at each of those venues.
Lorena Garcia, chef of Chica in Aspen, Las Vegas, and Miami
Lorena Garcia is a celebrity Latina chef who heads up Chica but has also been innovating and inspiring chefs for years.
Tony Gentile, chief culinary officer and executive chef of Flagship Restaurant Group based in Omaha, Neb.
Tony Gentile is at the helm of Omaha-based Flagship Restaurant Group, with more than 30 restaurants including 20-unit Blue Sushi Sake Grill, and another 10 in development in more than a dozen markets ranging from Phoenix and Nashville to Chicago, Denver, and Austin. Gentile has developed a sustainability program and is committed to making a positive impact on the world’s oceans as part of their “Conscious Earth” mission.
Adam Gertler, culinary director & würstmacher at Dog Haus, based in Pasadena, Calif.
As culinary director and sausage maker of Dog Haus, Adam Gertler creates signature hot dogs, sausages, burgers, and fried chicken sandwiches with unique and premium toppings.
Peter Gibbons, chef and owner of Catalyst Culinary LLC in Lakeland, Fla.
Peter Gibbons has been working with quick-service chains to create healthy new menu items without the need to add new equipment. His past experience includes product development for chains including Buffets Inc., Denny’s, and Burger King.
Steven Goff, executive chef of Tastee Diner in Asheville., N.C.
Steven Goff, who was once homeless, has created the Wooden Nickel Program. Anyone can buy the nickels for $5 and then give them to a homeless or food-insecure person who can then dine at Tastee Diner like everyone else and be treated with dignity and respect.
Mansour Gorji, chef and owner of Gorji Restaurant, Dallas
Mansour Gorji has been at the forefront of policies and philosophies to bring joy back into cooking and restaurant hospitality. The emphasis is on food, flavors and guests enjoying their evening. He remodeled to become smaller, reduced tables to 5 and eliminated tipping. One seating per night allows guests not to feel rushed and the staff to perform at their best. This format also provides time for Gorji to personally shop for ingredients which leads to inspiration for new dishes.
Troy Guard, owner and executive chef, TAG Restaurant Group based in Denver
Troy Guard operates multiple restaurant concepts in Denver and Houston, continuously innovating with his menus and giving back to the community. Named 2023 Chef of the Year by Bar and Restaurant Expo in March, he melds contemporary and classic styles with unexpected touches of pan-Asian and global flavors from his upbringing in Hawaii as well as his stints around the world.
Derrick Haggerty, chef and manager of River & Fort in St. Augustine, Fla.
Derrick Haggerty is praised for his innovation in the kitchen and for creating a friendly environment in the dining room.
“I love hospitality and strive to impact my team, neighbors, community and colleagues,” he said.
Peter Hemsley, executive chef of Aphotic in San Francisco
After experiencing frustration with sourcing good, traceable, and varies seafood, Peter Hemsley has developed direct relationships with purveyors at his new restaurant, which opened in March.
Brian Ingram chef and chief executive officer of Purpose Restaurants in St. Paul, Minn.
Brian Ingram is an industry veteran who is now focused on running restaurants with safe and inclusive work environments, living wages, and benefits for all full-time employees while also feeding families and hospitality workers in need.
HoChan Jang, co-founder and head chef of Balance Pan-Asian Grille, Cleveland, Denver, Dallas, and Toledo
Born in South Korea, HoChan "C.J.” Jang found his passion for fresh food, hard work and the restaurant industry through his mother, who, as a single parent worked long hours in her own restaurant to provide for her children after they moved to the United States in 1991.
He met business Prakash Karamchandani when studying at the University of Toledo and they opened their first location of Balance Pan-Asian Grille in Maumee, Ohio, in 2010, and have since expanded to five locations.
Dani Johnson, chef, owner and chief operating officer at Better Than Sex Dessert Restaurant, based in Key West, Fla.
Dani Johnson has created desserts such as 20-layer Berry Bondage that takes more than 37 hours to prepare and the Blueberry Birthday Suit made with French toast, Belgian white chocolate, blueberries, brie cheese and a blanket of strawberry Champagne soup.
Robert Kabakoff, creator chef, Craveworthy Brands based in Elgin, Ill.
Robert Kabakoff is the head of menu innovation for parent company of Genghis Grill, BD’s Mongolian Grill, Flat Top Grill, Wing it On!, The Budlong Hot Chicken, Krafted Burger Bar + Tap, and Lucky Cat Poke Company where he has re-engineered the menus and upgraded the recipes.
Yohann Le Bescond, executive pastry chef of The World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Fla.
Yohann Le Bescond, a 26-year-old pastry chef, was the first hire at this property and has been developing dessert menus for It ever since, overseeing a team of 15 pastry chefs and cooks in two kitchens. Before taking on this position he was executive pastry chef of Le Macaron in Miami.
Enrique Limardo, executive chef and co-founder of Seven Restaurant Group in Washington, D.C.
Enrique Limardo is a pioneer of modern Venezuelan cuisine in the United Sates. His Seven Restaurant Group is known for creating fun yet fine concepts in D.C.
He and business Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger project earning $26 million in revenue this year.
James London, chef of Chubby Fish in Charleston, S.C.
James London specializes in underutilized, sustainably caught fish.
George Madosky, chef de cuisine at Fork in Philadelphia
George Madosky has been the chef de cuisine of Fork part of the High Street Hospitality Group, since 2020. The graduate of Johnson & Wales University is known for his plant-forward cooking.
Steve Meese, executive chef of Livingston Restaurant + Bar in Atlanta
Steve Meese’s menu showcases a mixture of local and European influences, a style he calls European Southern modern cuisine. “My background is Mediterranean and European,” says the chef, who was born in Greece. “So there’s a mixture of French, Italian, and Spanish along with the flavors of Georgia. I’m using a lot of locally sourced ingredients and many techniques like foams, fermentation, smoking and more.”
Meese has trained with world-renowned chefs including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Grant Achatz, Jason Atherton, and Sunny Jin, and is the former host of the PBS series “A Chef’s Journey.”
Vincent Menager, vice president of culinary for The One Group based in Denver
Vincent Menager oversees menu development for The One Group’s restaurants, including STK and Kona Grill. Previously he was corporate chef of one of its concepts, Emea.
Michael Mina, founder, The Mina Group, based in San Francisco
Michael Mina has built a culinary empire of 30 restaurants around the world by nurturing and elevating talent.
He founded the Mina Group in 2003, which primarily partners with different hotel groups to open restaurants on their properties, a strategy that allows Mina to focus on running the restaurants while the hotels focus on infrastructure, accounting, and other issues. He now operates 38 restaurants under that model.
Imran Ali Mookhi, founder and executive chef of Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen, Fullerton, Calif.
Born in Pakistan, Imran Ali Mookhi moved from Karachi to Los Angeles when he was 17 years old with the American Dream in his sights. His welcome to the United States was not without its challenges, spending his first night at the airport followed by several nights in a storage space before landing his first job as a dishwasher. Over the next 20 years he worked in various kitchen positions and trained under several Michelin-starred chefs.
He opened Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen in February of 2020, serving farm-to-table South Asian food, which was acknowledged as a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2021.
Dean Neff, chef and co-owner of Seabird in Wilmington, N.C.
Dean Neff is on a mission to celebrate and promote North Carolina’s burgeoning oyster culture by casting a spotlight on the state’s unique coastal environment.
A member of the North Carolina Oyster Trail, (created in 2020 by the North Carolina Coastal Federation, the NC Shellfish Growers Association, and NC Sea Grant), Neff works closely with North Carolina fisher people and oyster farmers and is dedicated to mindful sourcing and educating his diners on the diverse range of oysters in the state, both farmed and wild.
Trey Nesbitt, foodservice director for Amber Court Assisted Living with multiple locations in New York and New Jersey
Trey Nesbitt has been with Amber Court for more than 12 years and has been awarded for providing nutritious and great-tasting meals for his residents.
Tim Nickey, partner and executive chef of Blackbird Modern Asian in Jupiter, Fla.
Tim Nickey has a two-decade career in restaurants, much of it cooking Asian food in South Florida, including Jeffrey Chodorow’s China Grill, Dragon Sushi, Kobe Club, and Komodo as well as Subculture Restaurant Group’s Kapow Noodle Bar, which he expanded to several locations.
He launched Blackbird in October of 2022 with previous partners Scott Frielich, Angelo Abbenante, and Cleve Mas.
Nevielle Panthaky, vice president for culinary at Chipotle Mexican Grill
Since joining Chipotle in 2018, Nevielle Panthaky has developed award-winning menu items while upholding the brand's “Food with Integrity” standards.
Prior to his current position he held similar roles at IHOP, P.F. Chang’s and Pei Wei. He also has worked at numerous hotels and independent restaurants.
Travis Peters, executive chef and owner of The Parish in Tucson, Ariz.
This chef who makes frequent appearances on food competition shows also is known for his hot sauce and community involvement.
Jonathan Pye, corporate executive chef for the West region of American Dining Creations, based in Overland Park, Kan.
Jonathan Pye has shown an exceptional ability to consistently create new and exciting dishes that have helped to position this onsite culinary services provider as a leader in the industry,
Jeffrey Quasha, senior director of culinary innovation at Morrison Healthcare based in Atlanta
Jeffrey Quasha leads a team of research & development chefs to create on-trend meals for their patients, including monthly patient holiday experiences, such as beef Burgundy topped with gremolata over rosemary polenta with balsamic glazed pearl onions and carrots for Father’s Day.
Michael Reed, executive chef and co-owner of Poppy + Rose, Poppy & Seed, and Root of all Food in Los Angeles and Orange County, Calif.
Michael Reed has long been the chef and owner of Poppy + Rose, a popular breakfast and brunch spot in Los Angeles’s Southern California Flower Market, but he has since moved to Orange County where he has opened new concepts.
In 2023, Michael and his wife Kwini Reed will launch the UNI Coalition – a nonprofit teaching kitchen enabling community members to participate in a training program that places them in restaurants. In 2024, he’ll expand Poppy with a restaurant combining the two existing Poppy concepts, located at the West Harbor waterfront complex in San Pedro, Calif.
Rob Rubba, chef of Oyster Oyster in Washington. D.C.
Rob Rubba prepares a seasonal, local, plant-forward tasting menu that expresses the bounty of the Mid-Atlantic region, while staying true to the ethos of zero waste, low-carbon footprint, and supporting regenerative farming practices.
Alex Sadowsky, Executive Chef of Twin Peaks based in Dallas
James Sanchez, executive chef at Whataburger based in San Antonio
James Sanchez seeks to create proprietary menu items that are accessible to all. Most recently that included his successful Southern Bacon Double Burger made with two beef patties, three pieces of bacon, American and Monterey Jack cheeses, shredded cabbage, a “Southern-style” sauce, pickles and onions on a toasted bun.
Richard Sandoval, chef, founder, and CEO of Richard Sandoval Hospitality based in Denver
Richard Sandoval’s decades-long mission has been to introduce the world to his native Mexican culture. He has more that 60 restaurants in 11 countries and four continents.
Matt Schweitzer, vice president of culinary & innovation at Hopdoddy Burger Bar, based in Austin, Texas
Matt Schweitzer is a passionate believer in the regenerative agriculture movement and has focused Hopdoddy's supply chain accordingly, with the vision to be fully regenerative over next few years.
Rodman Shields, senior director of culinary for Milkshake Concepts based in Dallas
Rodman Shields leads the culinary teams of Harper’s, The Finch, Stirr, Layer Cake, Vidorra, The Dippy Egg, Dirty Bones, Serious Pizza, and other restaurants.
Shields is responsible for daily culinary leadership, vision, and direction of a wide variety of established restaurants.
David Shim, Executive Chef at Cote Korean Steakhouse, New York City and Miami
A native of Seoul, South Korea, David Shim was on track to become a professional soccer player before his passion for the culinary arts ultimately took center stage. He began his culinary career as a line cook at Gramercy Tavern in New York City before stints as chef tournant at Veritas, master cook at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon at the Four Seasons Hotel, executive chef of Kristalbelli, and chef de cuisine of M. Wells Steakhouse, all also in New York, before joining Cote.
Francesco Simone, associate director of food and beverage, City Cruises Chicago
Francesco Simone plays a pivotal role in developing culinary offerings across the company’s Chicago fleet, which operates a range of dining cruise and tour experiences on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.
Rakesh Singh, executive chef of Rasika West End in Washington, D.C.
Rakesh Singh is praised for his leadership in the kitchen and creating critically acclaimed menus of modern Indian cuisine.
Tyler Slade, Executive Chef, Bargello & District 42 at the Kimpton Hotel Arras, Asheville, N.C.
By using Asheville’s abundance of fresh produce, Tyler Slade crafts delicious dishes that keep guests coming back time and time again. He is proud of the healthy work environment he has created and he infuses that same energy of respect, passion, and support into the Asheville community, partnering with local organizations focused on sustainable farming, mental health, and events that reflect Appalachia’s rich flavors and culinary traditions.
Troy Stauffer, area executive chef for Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, JB Duke Hotel, and The Lodge at Duke Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
Troy Stauffer’s responsibilities include menu conception, planning and development, and directing daily operations for the award-winning Fairview Dining Room and the Bull Durham Bar at Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, in addition to the upscale kiosk MarketPlace eatery and the Lobby Lounge at the JB Duke Hotel, serving globally inspired cuisine with Southern influence.
He is dedicated to the wellbeing of his staff and creating a balanced work environment remains a top priority for him.
Todd Stein, culinary director of Ballyhoo Hospitality in Chicago
Todd Stein is praised as a leader capable of inspiring young culinary professionals.
Robert St. John, founder and owner of New South Restaurant Group in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Robert St. John has been running his restaurant group for 35 years, and for the past 14 he has been running a non-profit organization called Extra Table, that fights food insecurity by providing nutritious food to food pantries across the state. They provided 989,013 healthy meals in 2020.
Sophina Uong, chef and owner of Mister Mao in New Orleans
Sophina Uong serves “inauthentic” cuisine that combines flavors and ingredients from Southeast Asia with Southern techniques and traditions. Her Guest Chef Pop Up Series showcases up-and-coming talent, and participating chefs keep the proceeds.
Charlie Ware, corporate executive chef, Compass Community Living, Las Vegas
Charlie Ware is a corporate executive chef for Compass Community Living with a history of developing young chefs and creating global flavors.
Jasmine Weiser has been a pioneer in creating a dessert-first restaurant experience in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. She applies her artistry and technique to create gluten-free and vegan desserts alongside traditional recipes. In addition, she is passionate about training the next generation of pastry chefs, mentoring many young professionals in her five years at Edward's Dessert Kitchen.
David Zamudio, executive chef of Alma Cocina Latina in Baltimore
David Zamudio is combining innovative techniques and hard-to-find Amazonian ingredients to pioneer contemporary Venezuelan food.
Peter Ziegler, executive chef of Johnston's in San Diego
Peter Ziegler is a 29-year-old chef who originally had ambitions to be a musician but was drawn into the restaurant industry, where he started as a busser. Prior to his current position he was executive chef of Pearl Hotel’s Charles + Dinorah and Wolfie’s Carousel Bar, both also in his hometown of San Diego.