The Most Influential Chefs of 2013

Leah Bourne
The Most Influential Chefs of 2013
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What made 2013 such an exciting year for food? Tons of restaurant openings, new star restaurants, and an abundance of inventive cooking that managed to get even the pickiest of foodies excited.
These are the elements that inspired our list of of the most influential chefs of the year. So what did it take to make the cut? We looked for chefs who really made a mark this year, either with a high profile restaurant opening or public accolades. For instance, it is hard to ignore the one chef who made the cut for Time magazine’s “The World’s 100 Most Influential People of 2013” list.
Also of note, we are all too well aware that only two women made our list. We hope to see more top women chefs make their mark in 2014!
Did we miss someone who you think deserved to make the list? Share your pick in the comments below!
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Dominque Ansel

If you went 2013 without hearing about the Cronut, you truly must have been living under a rock. The hybrid doughnut and croissant made its debut at Dominique Ansel's namesake bakery in New York City in the spring to lines around the block, and even a black market for Cronuts popped up Craigslist. Ansel went on to debut the frozen s'more and magic soufflé this year as well, to major acclaim. We can't wait to see what Ansel comes up with in 2014, something tells us he is just getting started.

Alex Atala

Named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" in 2013 (the only chef on the list), Alex Atala is behind one of the best restaraunt's in the world, D.O.M. in São Paulo, Brazil. Rene Redzepi of Noma said of Atala: "Alex is a striking figure, with his skull tattoos and piercings, his flaming hair and beard. He is also one of the most dedicated people I have encountered in our industry. Selflessly, he has surrendered to the enormous task of shaping a better food culture for Latin America. His philosophy of using native Brazilian ingredients in haute cuisine has mesmerized the continent." Now that is an edorsement. 

Read more: Alex Atala | TIME 100: The 100 Most Influential People in the World |

Danny Bowien

The chef and co-founder of Mission Chinese Food in New York City and Mission Burger in San Francisco, Bowien was awarded the prestigious "Rising Star Chef" award by the James Beard Foundation this year. His upcoming Mission Cantina is one of the most anticipated openings of 2014.


Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer

Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer have both been huge deals in the Boston culinary scene for years thanks to restaurants including Clio, Uni, Toro, Coppa, and La Verdad. The pair opened the second, 100-seat Toro in Chelsea in New York City in September of this year with an inventive menu including items like rabbit paella, pig's-ear terrine, and spoons of caviar, sea urchin, and quail egg. The restaurant quickly became a huge hit, and one of the toughest reservations in town.

Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi

Who would have thought that traditional Italian would make a comeback in the midst of farm-to-table dining and the gastronomy revolution, but that is exactly what happened in New York City thanks to Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi. Their restaurants including Parm and Torrisi Italian Specialties were already huge hits, and the pair opened fine dining American Italian restaurant Carbone this year. A New York City classic was born. The New York Times said of the restaurant: "Just about every element at Carbone will be engineered to conjure up the feeling of a lively night downtown, circa 1958." We say, we'll have another order of the linguine and clams, thank you. 

Cecilia Chiang

Born in Shanghai, Cecilia Chiang moved to San Francisco, and opened a restaurant called Mandarin in the 1960s. While the restaurant was at first not successful, it soon went on to attract VIP guests, and Chiang was eventually credited with introducing San Francisco and the United States to a more authentic version of Mandarin cuisine. Chiang sold the restaurant and it eventually closed in 2006, but Chiang's influence lives on. Chiang won a James Beard Foundation Award this year for her lifetime achievements, further cementing her place in culinary history. 

Amanda Cohen

Chef Amanda Cohen opened Dirt Candy, a haute vegetarian restaurant in New York City in 2008. Last year Cohen's renown kicked into overdrive when she released a cookbook in comic strip form. This year she became a poster child for top women chefs when she penned a column about the lack of high profile women chefs in Time magazine.

Marc Forgione

This star chef opened his namesake restaurant in New York City's Tribeca in 2008, but it was this year, 2013, that he opened the ultimate steakhouse, American Cut. Looking for the perfect steak? One that is classic, and grand, and just about perfect? Run, don't walk, to American Cut. 

Brett Graham

Brett Graham, who began his cooking career in Newscastle, Australia, eventually opening the Ledbury in Notting Hill in London in 2005. The restaurant, which now boasts two Michelin stars, was this year named the 13th best restaurant in the world by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. Graham's reputation in the international culinary world is certainly on the rise thanks to his modern French cooking with hints of Pacific and British influences. 

Alvin Leung

British-born Alvin Leung is referred to as "The Demon Chef" and is known for a style of cooking called "X-Treme" Chinese. His restaurant, Bo Innovation in Hong Kong, received the coveted three-stars from Michelin this year, which according to the famous red guidebook means it is "worth a special journey" for. In other words, book your flight to Hong Kong now.

Ludo Lefebvre

This chef built his reputation on the Los Angeles dining scene with a series of pop-up restaurants in empty spaces known as LudoBites. This year, though, Lefebvre put down roots with Trois Mec, a tasting-menu only restaurant that Lefebvre personally cooks. The restaurant had barely opened when Jonathan Gold, the restaurant critic for The Los Angeles Times, put it on his list of the top 101 restaurants in town. 

Joan, Josep, and Jordi Roca

These three chefs, and brothers, are behind El Celler de Can Roca, located in Girona, in Spain. Haven't heard of this restaurant? Get it on your radar immediately. This year the restaurant took the coveted number one spot on S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna's list of the top restaurants in the world. Known for pioneering modern Spanish food, we can truly advise that you should do everything and anything to try this restaurant in your lifetime. 

Rene Redzepi

When Ferran Adrià closed elBuilli in 2011, Rene Redzepi, the chef and co-owner of Noma in Copenhagen, arguably took the title of the most influential chef in the world. In 2013, Redzepi debuted the book A Work in Progress and Time magazine even referred to him as a "locavore hero." 


Takashi Saito

Sukiyabashi Jiro, who appears in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, may have a reputation as the best sushi chef in Tokyo, but most critics this year actually hailed Takashi Saito, Sushi Saito, as the best. What makes this three-star Michelin restaurant so special? It is all about the details. Even the rice is special here. Saito makes his rice adding marginally more salt than others, along with untypically mild red vinegar. The results are pretty much perfection. 

Michael White

Chef Michael White has been a star on dining scene for years thanks to restaurants including Marea and Ai Fiori in New York City and Al Molo in Hong Kong. 2013, though, was the year that White really cemented his place among the great chefs of world who are also able to scale their talents (chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mario Batali). In 2013 White opened Costata and Butterfly in New York City, Chop Shop in London, a restaraunt in Istanbul. A restaurant in Washington, DC is also in the works. It really does seem like the sky is the limit for White.

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