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Top 15 Badass Women Chefs in America Slideshow

Top 15 Badass Women Chefs in America Slideshow


11 Asian-American Chefs You Need to Know

In recent years, Asian-American chefs have been taking over the food scene, with critics and foodies alike celebrating their multi-ethnic mastery of bold flavors and daring cooking techniques. From mouthwatering Korean BBQ tacos to spamusubi, their dishes take creative risks and help them make history in the food world and beyond. Here are eleven awesome Asian-American chefs that are changing the way we look at food (or are just really bad-ass):

Danny Bowien

Photo Courtesy of NY Times

Originally from South Korea and adopted by an Oklahoman family, Danny Bowien is the chef and co-founder of Mission Chinese Food, based in New York and San Francisco. Starting his culinary career at various places on both coasts, Danny Bowien came to greater national attention when he worked at Farina and won the Pesto World Championship (who knew that was a thing?!).

He describes his cooking as “Americanized Oriental food,” with dishes like supersmoky kung pao pastrami. Now, he focuses his time on Mission Chinese Food where only one dish costs more than $16, and 75 cents from each food item sold goes to a local food bank. Amazing chef and amazing person? I think yes.

David Chang

David Chang has been credited with increasing the popularity of modern Asian cuisine through his cooking and the Anthony Bourdain-produced PBS series The Mind of a Chef. As the owner of the Momofuku restaurant group, his culinary empire now includes five restaurants, several dessert bars, and a cocktail bar. Just as impressive, Chang is loaded with coveted nominations and awards, including two Michelin Stars and multiple James Beard awards.

Roy Choi

Photo Courtesy of The Daily Beast

Roy Choi is kind of a BAMF. His unique cooking style fuses Mexican and Korean flavors for an insane foodgasm. You might just call him a food truck pioneer, serving upscale street food (including Korean BBQ tacos) to the people of downtown Los Angeles with his food truck Kogi BBQ, and gaining praise from food critics and the public along the way.

In addition to running Kogi BBQ, Choi also runs several Los Angeles area restaurants including Chego, Sunny Spot, and A-Frame. Roy Choi has also had his fair share of time in Hollywood the Jon Favreau movie Chef (2014) was loosely based on him, and he even worked as a consultant and co-producer for the film.

Cristeta Comerford

Cristeta “Cris” Comerford is the current White House Executive Chef. Not only is she the first of Asian descent, but she is also the first minority and the first woman to be appointed as the White House Executive Chef.

Originally from the Philippines, Comerford served as the sous-chef during the Clinton administration and was later appointed as Executive Chef in 2005 by First Lady Laura Bush. With that said, yes, it is completely okay to fan-girl over her (I know I do).

Christine Ha

If you’re like me and you love cooking shows like MasterChef, then you might just remember Christine Ha, the first blind contestant and the winner of the third season of MasterChef in 2012. Since winning the show, Ha has made a guest appearance on the inaugural season of MasterChef Vietnam and travels around the world giving inspirational keynote addresses and cooking demonstrations.

In 2014, Ha received the Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind, a reward previously given to legends like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. Ha is living proof that physical disabilities should not stand in the way of reaching your dreams. She also has a rocking blog called The Blind Cook.

Eddie Huang

Photo Courtesy of New York Post

A writer, chef, entrepreneur, and media personality, you know and love him as the inspiration behind the ABC prime time family comedy, Fresh Off the Boat.

The chef and co-owner of BAOHAUS, a prolific Taiwanese bun restaurant in New York City, Eddie Huang has received critical acclaim from The New York Times, CNN, NBC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, and various other media outlets.

Huang is currently the host of MTV’s Snack-Off. His memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, which hit the NY Times Bestseller list, became the basis of the the first American sitcom to feature an Asian family in two decades. All in all, you can say that Eddie Huang is pretty awesome. Check out his culinary adventures around the world on his MUNCHIES show, Huang’s World on VICE.

Anita Lo

Photo Courtesy of The Braiser

A first generation Chinese-American, Anita Lo is the celebrated chef and owner of Annisa, one of only two woman-owned restaurants in New York City with a Michelin Star.

Lo’s cooking combines contemporary American cuisine with multicultural flavors, particularly Southeast Asian and Mediterranean. Lo was also the first challenger to win a battle on Iron Chef America, beating Chef Mario Batali 54-45. If all that isn’t impressive, then I don’t know what is.

Niki Nakayama

Photo Courtesy of Bon Appetit

Niki Nakayama is one of the world’s only female chefs that specializes in kaiseki, a traditional Japanese culinary practice that emphasizes the balance and seasonality of a series of dishes. You can watch her intricate plating of kaiseki dishes here. She has also been recently featured in the Netflix original Chef’s Table.

Her current project, n/naka in Los Angeles, is a dining experience that applies “the artistic and technical notions of kaiseki to create an ever-evolving seasonal narrative within each meal.” You know, just casually taking down the patriarchy, one delicious bite at a time.

Paul Qui

The chef and owner of Qui restaurant and East Side King, a group of Asian food trucks in Austin, TX, Qui was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 2014 Best New Chefs and Top 10 Empire Builders of 2012. Born in the Philippines and trained in classic French and Japanese cuisine, Qui’s modernist approach toward food is influenced by a variety of flavors from around the world.

Dale Talde

Photo Courtesy of First We Feast

You might recognize Dale Talde from season 4 and the “All-Star” season of Top Chef. After graduating from the CIA in 1998, Dale Talde worked on the opening teams of two renowned Chicago restaurants, but it was only until after consulting at Le Anne, a Vietnamese bistro in Chicago’s western suburbs, that Talde reaffirmed his love of Southeast Asian cuisine rooted in his Filipino heritage.

In 2005, Talde worked under Chef Masaharu Morimoto (which is pretty deserving of some praise and awe, in my opinion) and restauranteur Stephen Starr at the esteemed New York City Japanese restaurant Morimoto, after which he was named the Director of Asian Concepts for STARR Restaurants.

Ming Tsai

Photo Courtesy of The Disney Blog

Ming Tsai is a Chinese-American celebrity chef who has been cooking for television audiences since the 90s, starting with the popular Food Network show East Meets West with Ming Tsai on Food Network, for which he won an Emmy in 1998. In the same year, Tsai opened Blue Ginger, a critically acclaimed East-West cuisine bistro in Wellesley, MA. Currently, he is the executive producer and host of the PBS cooking show Simply Ming.

Mason HerefordTurkey and the Wolf, New Orleans

Mason Hereford is the chef and co-owner of Turkey and the Wolf, the New Orleans sandwich shop that no one has stopped talking about since it opened in August. With sandwiches like the fried bologna, which comes with potato chips between the bread, and the double-decker collard green melt, it's no wonder that the joint just got a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant. While working his way up to chef de cuisine at NOLA's Coquette, Hereford met his current chef de cuisine, Colleen Quarls, with whom he works closely and calls "an epic badass."

Know before you go: The sandwiches are the stars, but don't miss the deviled eggs, which come with crispy chicken skin the wedge salad, which Hereford calls a "blue cheese bomb" or the fried chicken potpie. Make room for everything—it's so worth it𠅊nd maybe schedule a nap for later, too.

5. Natalie Pack

Photo by nataliepack on Instagram

At age 19, she was in America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12.

This California-based model maintains an amazing Instagram profile filled to the brim with jaw-dropping photos of her latest escapades somewhere. What sets her apart, however, are her Instagram stories of her behind the scenes of real estate life, a lot of videos of her latest adventures, and some good, sweaty workouts.

To top it all off, she is a real estate expert, a health and nutrition coach, and an Instagram hottie. Now, if that’s not a badass girl, we don’t know what is.

Frank Stitt, 66

After working at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, Stitt traveled to France to help chef and food writer Richard Olney produce a Time-Life cooking series. He later returned to America and opened the Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1982, drawing on ingredients from his rural roots. The Southern Foodways Alliance honored him with a lifetime achievement award for his elevation of Southern cuisine.

Chef John's Grilled Flap Steak

This cut of beef looks like skirt steak, but it's actually cheaper (usually) and equally delicious. "It did make for some extremely tasty Asian-style lettuce wraps," says Chef John. "You can use flap meat in so many other wonderful ways. You should try this in tacos or Philly cheese steak. I used the grilled meat with lettuce, carrots, red onions, chopped peanuts, and cilantro leaves to make a salad. For the dressing I combined the reserved meat juices, sambal, fish sauce, and rice vinegar to taste. I didn't measure anything, and neither should you."

Our be-all, end-all recipe for perfect galette crust works with nearly any fruit (or veg) that’s in season—or within arm’s reach.

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

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The 25 Most-Over-the-Top Bloody Marys in America

The streamlined initial recipe of vodka and tomato juice now serves as a mere jumping-off point for everything under the sun in these 25 totally off-the-wall Bloody Marys.

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Photo By: Rockit Ranch Productions

The Barn Yard Bloody Mary at Farmer's Table, La Mesa, California

While largely an ode to refined, farm-to-table cuisine, this Cali eatery has tongue-in-cheek fun with its theme during brunch, when five wacky Bloody Marys are on offer. The Peter Rabbit (cheese-stuffed mushroom caps and assorted veggies) and the Butcher's Block (sage-fennel sausage and braised short ribs) set the stage in a comparatively sedate way, but the showstopper is the $45 Barn Yard, a cornucopia of bacon-wrapped shrimp, fresh mozzarella, seasonal vegetables and a whole roasted chicken, meant to satisfy four thirsty (and famished) farmhands.

The Sumo Mary at Sunda, Chicago

You'll need a pretty strong constitution to wrestle with the 32-ouncer at Chicago's Southeast Asia-referencing Sunda. It tips the scales with half a grilled cheese sandwich, braised pork belly, Chinese broccoli, pickled daikon, shishito peppers and roasted potatoes, a crab sushi roll, the Filipino spring roll known as lumpia and a saucy duck bao. Talk about a knockout.

Mama Betty's Bloody Mary at The Bellwether, Studio City, California

Sharing is encouraged during The Bellwether's convivial brunch hours &mdash except, that is, when it comes to cocktails. That means you're fully within your rights if you bogart your Bloody Mary, appetizingly assembled from house-infused habanero vodka, house mix, bacon salt, pepperoncini, cornichons and an adorable mini BLT.

The Brunch for Two at Party Fowl, Nashville, Tennessee

This Nashville funhouse certainly isn't guilty of false advertising when it comes to its infamous Brunch for Two. There's no reason to bother with anything else on the menu, considering this goblet-proportioned offering provides patrons with more calories than they can possibly need in a day, presented on sticks precariously stacked with fried okra, a halved avocado, Scotch eggs, olives and two split hot Cornish game hens.

The Big Fix at Flipside, Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville strikes again, thanks to Flipside, which makes a play for Party Fowl's Bloody Mary crown with The Big Fix. A dill pickle and bacon share real estate in a frosted mug with a skewer brandishing fried chicken cutlet wedges and Tater Tots, and a massive snow-crab claw is draped dramatically over the side.

The BBQ Bloody Mary at That Boy Good BBQ, Oceanside, California

That Boy Good treats its Bloodys in much the same way it approaches its low-and-slow-smoked meats. The chef whips up his own Mary mix (flavored with a dash of BBQ sauce, of course) and uses his all-purpose rub to rim the glass. Jalapeno-infused vodka joins the party, as do celery, olives, limes, pickled veggies and the coup de grâce, a hulking smoked rib.

The Motherlode Mary at Black Iron Kitchen & Bar, Telluride, Colorado

You may want to postpone hitting the slopes after you've gotten a load of the Mary at this apres-ski lounge at the Madeline Hotel. Not only is there a fair amount of vegetation involved (cherry peppers, pickled okra, haricots verts and baby corn), but it packs a protein punch, too, thanks to multiple rashers of crisped bacon and a brawny lamb slider.

The Bloody Best at The Nook, Atlanta

We've got Georgia on our minds, thanks to the awe-inspiring Bloody Best at The Nook. A 32-ounce tumbler barely contains the lava-red drink soused with black pepper vodka, to say nothing of the skewers strung with steak, Tater Tots, pepperoncini, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, beef straws and a slice of buttered toast.

The Chubby Mary at The Cove, Leland, Michigan

Seafood (in the form of oysters, shrimp and lobster) is a pretty standard addition to Bloody Marys. Yet The Cove, situated in Leland's Fishtown neighborhood, serves a Bloody that's, well, a fish out of water in a rather delectable way: A whole smoked chub rises from its brackish, horseradish- and vodka-spiked depths.

The Pizza Bloody Mary at Homeslice, Chicago

While we don't necessarily think of pizza parlors as standard brunch destinations, this quirky Chicago pie slinger is actually a brilliant option for anyone whose go-to fast breaker is a leftover, refrigerated slice. And truly, there's no better hangover cure than a spicy, tomato-rich Bloody, crowned with a chilled triangle of Hawaiian-style 'za &mdash although the accompanying Miller High Life pony might just jump-start a new buzz.

The Bloody Mary Bar at Andiron Steak and Sea, Las Vegas

Not only is Andiron's Bloody Mary bar DIY, but it's bottomless as well, meaning you can spend the better part of the day composing bespoke cocktails from bottles of original, spicy, roasted tomatillo or briny, clam-permeated juice, plus 12 salts, 21 hot sauces, and myriad bowls overflowing with Marcona almond- or blue cheese-stuffed olives, beef jerky, bacon, poached shrimp and Slim Jims. And it's up to you how heavy a hand you use with the vodka or tequila. Hey, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

The Shellfish Bloody at Luke Wholey's Wild Alaskan Grille, Pittsburgh

This seafood haven carries its under-the-sea motif straight through to brunch, gamely loading pint glass-proportioned Bloodys with everything from spice-rubbed prawns to whole, flash-fried soft-shell crabs in season, adorably adorned with two pimento-stuffed olives for eyes.

The F*%# Brunch Bloody Mary at Anvil Pub, Dallas

Anvil Pub may thumb its nose at brunch with its colorfully named cocktail, but it's only served to bolster the weekend crowds at this Deep Ellum haunt. One of four flagrantly insane tipples (the others are a breakfast sandwich-mounted mimosa, a chimichanga-capped sangria and a cinnamon roll-cloistered screwdriver), the Bloody comes reinforced with revolving toppings such as a bacon cheeseburger, beef jerky, Brussels sprouts, shrimp, asparagus, crawfish and a half-pint of PBR.

The Bloody Buck at Buck's Naked BBQ, Maine

Dry-rubbed, hardwood-infused meat finds its way into most everything at this duo of Maine-based BBQ joints. And that very much extends to the drinks menu, where margaritas, dark and stormys and, yes, piquant Bloody Marys come opulently accessorized with slow-smoked baby back ribs.

The Build Your Own Bloody at The Wayfarer, New York

The most-jaw-dropping aspect of The Wayfarer's Bloody Mary is how utterly customizable it is. In fact, it's possible to come up with well over 1,000 variations by mixing and matching ingredients from the stupendously stocked bar. Start with a base of traditional mix, tomato water or kale-enriched green juice, pick your poison from a selection of house-infused cucumber or black pepper vodka, individualize your rim with poppy and sesame seeds, smoked paprika or celery salt, and go nuts with garnishes such as shrimp, roasted tomatoes, cheddar cheese, pepperoncini and pork rinds.

The Hail Mary at Star Bar, Austin

Taking the "everything's bigger in Texas" motto to heart, Star Bar proudly proffers this veritable kitchen sink of a drink &mdash if you can even call it that. You'll need to plow your way through a cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, cheddar smoked cocktail sausages, cubes of cheddar and pepper Jack cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, pickled okra, dill pickles and gherkins, cherry tomatoes and celery, as well as powdered mini doughnuts and a full-sized honey bun, before you get to anything that can be consumed with a straw.

The Chicken Fried Bloody Beast at Sobelman's Pub & Grill, Milwaukee

Family-owned Sobelman's rules Milwaukee's Bloody Mary scene and regularly nabs national press for its 40-ounce behemoths. And while that amounts to a pretty stiff pour of Tito's, the alcohol is effectively counteracted by a serious serving of food that's more full-on brunch than mere garnish. Celery stalks and skewered vegetables are overshadowed by bacon-wrapped jalapeno cheese balls, cheeseburger sliders and (this is the "Chicken Fried" part) a whole four-pound bird, procured from Ray's Butcher Shoppe in Greenfield.

The Bloody Homer at Icehouse, Minneapolis

This may be Minneapolis, not Springfield, but we have no doubt that Homer Simpson would make Icehouse his home away from Moe's &mdash especially since his eponymous cocktail comes in a Duff-emblazoned glass, thoroughly swine-ified with both candied bacon strips and a mini, "bacon-bedazzled" doughnut. Mmmm . bacon-bedazzled doughnut .

The Bloody Mary at The French, Naples, Florida

What's in a name? Not a whole lot when it comes to The French's far-from-basic Bloody that brings a taste of France to Florida, by way of fresh-pressed tomato juice embellished with cornichons, pickled onions, salami, spicy boiled shrimp, steak tartare on a toast point and a tiny French flag.

The Bloody Best Bloody Mary at Chef Point, Watauga, Texas

Unsurprisingly, you could easily fill a list of over-the-top Bloody Marys exclusively with entries from Texas. Watauga joins the fray with this leviathan cocktail from Chef Point, based on a double order of spicy Bloody Mary plus 16 ounces of domestic beer. If that sounds like a lot of alcohol, know that it's hardly a match for the sheer amount of booze-absorbing food that umbrellas it: a portion of "Better Than Sex" fried chicken, a cheeseburger, waffle fries, bacon, a blistered jalapeno pepper, asparagus spears, assorted pickled things and a pair of poached shrimp.

The Lobster Bloody Mary at Brant Point Grill, Nantucket, Massachusetts

Bloodys brimming with hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, mac and cheese, brownies and whole fried chickens not your style? Elegant imbibers will appreciate this crustacean concoction courtesy of the Brant Point Grill at the White Elephant Hotel. It features housemade tomato juice mix, locally distilled vodka, a spicy bacon salt rim, and a quarter-pound of lobster.

The Bakon Bloody Mary Masterpiece at Sam's Tavern, Seattle

Since it's off-menu, we're letting you in on one of Seattle's best (but not all that well-kept) secrets: Sam's is home to one of the best darn Bloodys in town. It certainly doesn't hurt that it's spiked with locally made, bacon-infused vodka. But as usual in the world of out-of-bounds Bloody Marys, it's the accoutrements &mdash celery, cheese cubes, tomatoes, olives, onions, cocktail weenies and a cheeseburger slider with the works &mdash that send this drink into the brunchtime-tipple stratosphere.

The Meaty Man at The Attic, Long Beach, California

You may not expect to find something so unapologetically meat-centric in sunny SoCal, yet the folks at The Attic seem wholly unconcerned with beach-physique maintenance &mdash at least when it comes to their Bloody Mary. It's enriched with a triad of indulgent proteins: a short-rib slider perched on a house-baked bun, a rasher of thick-cut fried bacon and a Slim Jim-stuffed olive.

The Southwestern Bloody Mary at Kachina, Denver

So special it's available only on Sundays, Kachina's Southwest-inspired Bloody Mary bar is truly beautiful to behold. Sure, you'll find the usual suspects like celery and bacon, but you can really go for broke with more novel add-ins such as prosciutto, Manchego, chorizo-stuffed olives, pickled cactus, shrimp escabeche and blue corn waffles.

The Checkmate at Score on Davie, Vancouver, British Columbia

Oh, Canada! You may want to consider taking a day trip across the border for brunch, in pursuit of Score on Davie's totally off-the-wall Bloody. Boozy tomato juice is merely the base (and practically beside the point) in this eminently edible cocktail that's chock-full of roasted chicken and chicken wings, a Sriracha-glazed pulled pork slider, a hot dog topped with pulled pork mac and cheese, a full-size burger, a batch of onion rings . and, oh, a brownie for dessert.

Meet The 10 Best Mexican Chefs in The United States Right Now

We asked the country's foremost expert on Mexican food to tell us about the innovators driving the cuisine forward in the United States today.

You don&apost just sit down with Bill Esparza for a quick chat—talking to America&aposs most knowledgeable writer on the subject of Mexican food is something that can stretch out into hours, sometimes a whole day. He is a man who always seems to have a lot on his mind, and not just about food, but the politics of the stuff, too𠅎verything, really, that we talk about, when we talk about food in America today. Its origins, the evolution, the contribution that immigrants have made and continue to make, the concepts of cultural appropriation, the various people caught in shameless acts of Columbusing—it&aposs typically a lot at once, but it&aposs always exhilarating, and you&aposre always left wanting more.

It&aposs not like he can&apost talk about anything else𠅎sparza had another, fascinating life in the music business, before he decided to delve into food blogging. He eventually worked his way up to become the go-to on the subject not only of Mexican food, but of all types of Latin American cooking, in a city that&aposs positively drowning in the stuff. After years of covering the scene for everyone and anyone, after hosting juried taco festivals and making countless media appearances, Esparza, probably one of very few people who could annoy Rick Bayless enough to get blocked by him on Twitter, has finally put out his first book.

The subject, you might have already guessed. Called "L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places," the richly visual tome is a love letter to the heritage, present and continued evolution of Mexican cooking in Los Angeles. On a recent morning, I managed to track him down to ask him a question that I&aposm guessing he&aposs only too happy to answer: Who are the best, most interesting, most innovative Mexican chefs, working in America right now? Whom do we go to, to taste and see the future of Mexican food in the United States? After about an hour and a half, we got something approximating a list. Ready? Let&aposs take a ride.

Wes Avila Los Angeles
"Wes is the liberator of the modern Mexican taco," says Esparza of one of the country&aposs most innovative taqueros still working out of a truck. (Avila will soon open his first brick-and-mortar, in LA&aposs Arts District.) "He&aposs created a whole new style. which is hard on such a simple canvas as a tortilla. Other people had used tweezers on tacos before, but never to create something so delicious, so interesting. His style is fully formed, everyone else is in development. Avila took a short time to develop his own unique style. How many people have done that?"

Carlos Salgado Costa Mesa, Calif.
There&aposs a reason why Taco Maria, a snug, tasting-menu focused joint roughly an hour from most places in Los Angeles took the number five spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold&aposs 101 Best Restaurants list, just out this week—Salgado is just that good. An Orange County native, he first blipped on the radar of SoCal diners after launching a taco truck back in 2011, his (to most eyes) illogical follow-up to decade or more of toiling in various Michelin-starred (Coi, Commis) kitchens up in the Bay Area. The truck begat the sleek little fine-dining spot where you find him today, and while you can still get tacos here, it&aposs really all about the four-course prix-fixe menu of what Salgado likes to refer to as Chicano Cuisine.

Enrique Olvera New York
In a city where certain people who&aposve figured out how to get diners to pay upwards of $10 per pretty basic taco are still held up as examples of how Mexican cooking has so greatly improved (it&aposs still really not great), let&aposs just call it a minor miracle that one of Mexico City&aposs top chefs was able to airlift in, open, and sustain not one, but two restaurants—the dreamy, very fine Cosme first, the more casual, but no less chic Atla, second. A true trendsetter, Olvera&aposs Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, was sending shockwaves around Mexico and the cooking world at a time when New Yorkers were still wrapping their heads around the guacamole at Dos Caminos.

Carlos Gaytan Chicago
Arriving in the Windy City at age 20 and working his way up from nowhere, Gaytan opened Mexique in 2008, becoming the first Mexican chef to ever go home with their own Michelin star, back in 2013. In true Midwest style, he&aposs still at it, applying classic technique to Mexican flavors both familiar and unfamiliar—it&aposs fine dining, but in a cozy spot just far enough from the heavily-touristed downtown and the so-hot-right-now dining scene to the west, that almost it feels like the terrific neighborhood joint every American neighborhood deserves.

Ricardo Diaz Whittier, Calif.
A pioneer of what Esparza refers to as Alta California cuisine, Diaz helped make the old-school taco de guisado a Los Angeles hipster must-have (Guisados), he made the Mexican torta a thing you go to the deli for, just like you would an Italian sub (Cook&aposs Torta&aposs), and he started turned an old-school mariscos joint in a quiet suburb into a banging Mexican gastropub of sorts (Bizarra Capital). "He introduced the notion that Mexican American cuisine could be contemporary, and not just something that you&aposve brought back from Mexico," says Esparza. "He took the Mexican-American voice, and the way we eat, into a restaurant."

Gabriela Cámara San Francisco
Every food tourist that makes their way to Mexico City either goes to Contramar or is, at the very least told to go to Contramar, Cámara&aposs famed, upscale casual seafood spot in the Roma Norte neighborhood—what many of them might not know is that they could also just go to San Francisco, where she&aposs run one of the country&aposs top Mexican restaurants, Cála, since 2015. A celebration of seafood, just like Contramar, things are perhaps even more elevated, more daring, more modern here—not that you&aposve got to sit down for the full treatment there&aposs a taco window out in the alley, too.

Ray Garcia Los Angeles
A native Angeleno, Garcia&aposs Broken Spanish𠅊nd its much-lauded elevations of humble staples like the chicharron—is a fine-dining star of the nascent Alta California cuisine opening a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was quite the scene change for Garcia, who previously helmed a very different restaurant altogether at a hotel in Santa Monica. His leap into the future appears to have paid off there&aposs even a casual spin-off, the daring (some might say slightly tweaked) B.S. Taqueria, a few blocks away.

Diego Hernandez Los Angeles
Another top chef from south of the border, this time just south of it, Hernandez became world-famous for his bold, tasting-menu restaurant𠅌orazón de Tierra—located on a beautiful piece of lan in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine region, just an hour or so from San Diego. After landing a spot on the Latin America&aposs 50 Best Restaurants list, Hernandez is now bringing his ultra-modern style to a particularly upmarket patch of Los Angeles. The going hasn&apost been smooth, but there&aposs promise. :A bumpy start in Los Angeles shouldn&apost take away from his accomplishment, anymore than any other chef that&aposs had challenges, which is most of them," says Esparza. "Hernandez is still a badass, great chef and I have no doubt he&aposll figure things out."

Eduardo Ruiz Los Angeles
Known best as the guy who got people to drive from all over Southern California to the working-class suburb of Bell to eat dinner—Ruiz&apos Pan-Latin Corazon y Miel was a smash hit, in its time—he&aposs now working with others on two very different concepts, Chica&aposs Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles, and on the menu at Public Beer & Wine, a very Long Beach-y spot in Long Beach, but probably one of the few craft beer-crazed bars where you can order proper, slow-cooked barbacoa.

Silvana Salcido Esparza Phoenix
Almost a household name in the Valley of the Sun at this point, the self-described creator of comida chingona (for the sake of politeness, let&aposs just say that means something like &aposbad-ass food&apos) first reeled in Phoenicians with her homey, familiar cooking at Barrio Café, followed by subsequent spin-offs—now, she&aposs kicked things into high-gear with the recently-opened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a home for thoroughly modern Mexican cooking. Once again, Phoenix is in love.

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