10 Chefs to Follow … To the Ends of the Earth

The foodie world is so large and yet, thanks to Instagram, so very small. Scottish langoustines can be seen from Prague to Oklahoma; a Tuscan heirloom tomato’s swirling reddish colors can be viewed by epicurean eyes in France. Or Switzerland. Or Thailand. Or from Aunt Edna’s basement where you’re currently sleeping on a half-tattered couch because rent is cheap and you’re in that “between jobs” phase.

Wherever or whoever you are, Instagram serves as the great culinary uniter, allowing us to indulge in the creations of mastermind chefs worldwide with nothing more than a cell phone and the curiosity stewing from our fingertips.

In completely random order and numbered for your reading convenience, here are 10 chefs whose food looks so good, you almost don’t even want to eat it. But you do. You really, really do …

1. @offalchris – Chef Chris Cosentino’s “colorful gastronomy” is an amalgam of a childhood spent soaking in the rich culinary scene of New England—from clamming the shores of Rhode Island to hand-making pasta with his great-grandmother. These days, Cosentino resides on the opposite coast, in San Francisco, working as executive chef of Incanto, an award-winning establishment known for its decadent charcuteries and most especially, its offal. The Chef hosts an annual “Head to Tail dinner,” which is said to be nothing short of a goose intestine, pork-liver-spectacle of the unexpectedly delicious.

Sweetbreads al pastore, grilled pineapple, sweetbreads, cotija cheese & pickled onions @cockscombsf

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2. @marcvetri – Philadelphia-based Chef Marc Vetri is the gourmandizing genius behind Vetri, a restaurant that in 1998 took over the quaint townhouse once home to Le Bec Fin and hasn’t stopped dominating the local food scene since. Chef Vetri, a James Beard Award winner also named Food & Wine Magazine‘s “Ten Best Chefs,” is himself as dynamic as the establishments that bear his name and signature rustic-Italian style. Lucky for us, the chef’s Instagram account is a sneak peek into his epicurean tastes and predilections, from sea urchin to 350-pound mortadella, plus whatever might fall somewhere in between …

Squid ink tempura fried catfish in pickled nage….booyah!

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3. @aprilbloomfield – No big deal, Chef April Bloomfield is only credited with opening NYC’s first gastropub—The Spotted Pig. Her swine-fluences (hehe) can be traced to a Birmingham, England heritage, where she took up culinary studies at Birmingham College before cooking in kitchens across Great Britain and Northern Ireland. At London’s Michelin-starred The River Café, she honed her skills under famed chefs Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, learning “to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of food,” Bloomfield said, Then, as the story goes, she jumped pond and let the spotted pigs fly.

 

4. @dcberan – Chicago let out a collective sigh this spring when James Beard Award-winning Chef Dave Beran announced he’d be leaving the city’s high-end foodie haven, Next, for the palm-treed exuberance of the Los Angeles food scene. Chef Beran plans to open his own place in L.A., with glimpses into the culinary philosophy behind this soon-to-be hot spot given via essay-like captions on his Instagram photos. In one such mini-narrative, the thoughtful and prolific chef delivered this line: “Food is like a story told around a campfire,” he wrote. “Someone tells it, and it is learned, and told again. Eventually it becomes a whole new story, with only echoes of the original.”

"Perception" (part 7 – blurred lines) We have talked about color, plates, setting the table, and playing with descriptions and palate. How does it all come together? Each element is just a piece in the total package, telling the story of the menu. Is a dish modern or classic? Well, what is the setting? For a section of "the hunt" the table was set with a candelabra and a deer pelt, the plates were all gold rim stacks, and our most delicate stemware was used. I would say this represents classic. But the course "sturgeon with its' own eggs" was full of modern technique, despite its classic look and head to tail philosophy. The fish was sous vide, the butter sauce had a minimal amount of gum in it to help keep the caviar in suspension, and the green spruce oil was made using a technique we discovered only a few years ago. Stylistically it's really about perception. If we show our cards, and if the guest knows when we've used a bit of trickery, then we haven't done our job. . #foodandwine #classic #modern #tabletop #artofplating #foodphotography @thealineagroup [photo: @bonjwing]

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5. @alexstupak – Never mind Vanity Fair called him “pretty damn famous, especially to the people who worship at the altar of the taco.” Or that the bathroom in his Empellón Al Pastor, an East Village mainstay, features this bad-ass Charles Bukowski quote on its wall: “Find what you love and let it kill you.”  Actually, mind. Because Chef Stupak proves that casual fare doesn’t mean a sacrifice on luxurious flavor … and he’s proving it one ridiculously tasty cheeseburger taco at a time.

Queso Fundido with Black Trumpets and Guaje Seeds @empellon taqueria Image by @evansungnyc

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6. @scottvivian – The chef and co-owner of Toronto’s Beast Restaurant is, expectedly, a beast when it comes to carnivorous cuisine. Chef Scott Vivian’s focus is on supporting local Ontario farmers, which isn’t just a reward for diners seeking fresh produce but also, as Vivian explained, a serious “responsibility.” Beast in the kitchen and best for the community? Yep, in.

Shiny sea oyster, ramp mignonette, trout roe, crispy coppa. @beasttoronto #beastdinnermenu #amuse

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7. @sanchezrosio – The Mexican-American pastry chef from Chicago’s Noma made a sweet escape from the Windy City and headed for Copenhagen last year to open a taqueria stand in the vibrant Torvehallerne Market of said city. As if that follow-your-dreams tale wasn’t cool enough, Chef Rosio Sanchez recently had this to say to Condé Nast Traveller: “I need something sweet every day,” she explained. “Today I had a chocolate chip cookie and some licorice.” Commence culinary girl crush.

Gooseberry chilaquiles staffie 😍 Will never get tired of this 🤗

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8. @alainducasse – Chef Alain Ducasse, a pioneer, innovator and master of French cuisine, has one of those little blue check marks by his name on Instagram, so you know he’s legit. And, if the verified profile didn’t convince you, just visit any one of his 23 restaurants in seven countries across the globe, or tally up his Michelin stars … you’d get to 19 in total but who’s really counting those little, old things anyway? Uh, the world. Just the entire, food-obsessed world.

 

9. @chefludo – Nicknamed the “Impresario of Pop-Up Dining,” French chef-turned L.A. restauranteur Ludo LeFebre now turns out mouth-wateringly luscious plates from two permanent So Cal locations at Trois Mec and Petit Trois. Bonus: His wife, Krissy LeFebre, also has an Instagram account, @frenchchefwife, and it’s just as packed with crepes and melted butter as you’d expect.

Starting tomorrow on the menu at @petittroisla " Cruditees " salad, creamy sauce 🇫🇷

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10. @stephandthegoat – It’s not a culinary romp around Chicago without a trip to Chef Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat. The Top Chef-winning mind behind dishes like goat carpaccio with smoked trout roe and olive-maple vinaigrette, or calamari bruschetta on a clam baguette with goat milk ricotta, green tomato and goat bacon—yes, goat bacon—isn’t just bringing goat onto mainstream plates, she’s also redefining the very idea of what hip cuisine should be.

One of my favorite dishes back at girl & the goat! Halibut with blueberry nuoc Cham, marcona almond butter and green almonds

A post shared by Stephanie Izard (@stephandthegoat) on

 

MELISSA MARNI IS A SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA-BASED WRITER AND THE FOUNDER OF LITTLE WORD STUDIO. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO, YOU CAN FOLLOW HER ON INSTAGRAM HERE.