Has there ever been a better time to be alive for foodies? With such an interconnected world, food has become so much more than a way to sustain us. It’s become a way to connect with people around the world and better understand their lives. These upcoming chefs are leading the way: saying no to stereotypical techniques and yes to celebrating all the ways food can delight and surprise us.
Diana Dávila, Mi Tocaya Antojería
Eater’s 2018 “Chef to Watch” is an obvious choice for this list. Dávila practices her self-dubbed “Midwest-Mex” cooking style and challenges the traditional notion of what Mexican food should be. A second-generation chef in Chicago, Dávila is proud of her authenticity: “[My food is] made by a real Mexican mom, not some guy who maybe went on a trip because his investors told him his next place was going to be a Mexican joint.” Menu options range from cheese curds and nopales or beef tongue liberally covered in a peanut butter salsa.
Nasrin Rooghani, Mazí Mas
Nasrin Rooghani has been a welcome surprise to the London food scene. The pop-up restaurant and catering company Mazí Mas, is made up of a team of refugee and migrant women chefs in London, including Rooghani. Born in Astara, Iran, her cooking influences are Azeri and Iranian: richly spiced meat and slow-simmering, saffron-scented stews. Her twist is using rose, an ever-present ingredient in her home. The berry-like rosehip makes a paste, petals infuse to make to rosewater or are dried to make tea or garnish. As part of the Mazí Mas team, Rooghani and her partners seek to forge connections and nourish the imagination with their food. Every plate has a story to tell.
Bonny Porter, Ball & Company
Becoming a finalist in MasterChef: The Professionals in 2012 leaves major shoes to step in to and the highest of expectations. Bonny Porter, then just 23, is finally ready to make her mark. The Australian chef has already found success with Soho’s meatball restaurant, Balls & Company. In 2018, she has plans to open a new bar-focused restaurant by June and intends to continue her International Women’s Day celebration, which last year gathered London’s best female chefs to celebrate their greatest female culinary inspirations.
Sean Sherman, The Sioux Chef
Sean Sherman is one of the upcoming chefs on a mission: revive the forgotten indigenous cooking of his ancestors. And in this political climate, his timing could not be better. Modern notions of Native American food (fry-breads, tacos) are nowhere to be seen in The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen cookbook. With a restaurant and series of Indigenous Food Hubs in the works, Sherman’s food celebrates meats like venison, rabbit, lake trout, wild turkey, spices like sage and sumac, and fruits like plum and purslane. Drawing on a long culinary history of using wild plants and animals, native crops and methods, Sherman is developing a new understanding of North American food.