Who Top U.S. Chefs Turn to For Inspiration, Guidance or Advice

Chef Phoenix

Chris Bianco was back behind a wood-burning pizza oven at L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade.


Donald Link (Cochon, Herbsaint + Pêche)

Pretty good group of people here. We’re all in good company here.

Jenn Louis (Lincoln + Sunshine Tavern)

You know, I look all over the place. I always look for traditional roots in cooking. I look at grandmothers from all different countries, and people who have been practicing their craft. They don’t necessarily look at it as the craft, what they do, but they know the root for each cuisine so well. Whatever country I go to, I always try to get into somebody’s home or have something from somebody who’s been cooking a long time in traditional methods. As far as advice, I have a really good network of chefs to draw on. Jonathan Waxman’s kind of the godfather, and he comes at it from the sage perspective. I love talking to Andrew Zimmern. I think he’s incredibly wise. Mario Batali’s been really wonderful, helping me out with the book I’m writing. He’s been giving me really great advice.

Matt Molina (Mozza)

Obviously being surrounded by such great people, it’s really tough to pinpoint one individual. I’m always looking for the next best hospitality experience we get to have. Recently we were in Nashville and yes, Southern hospitality does still exist down there. It’s a great place. Restaurants like Husk and Rolf and Daughters, that was probably my last great experience, being welcomed into a restaurant. That’s why we’re all here. We’re all restaurateurs, so to be able to continue to develop that sort of culture is really important.

Nancy Oakes (Boulevard + Prospect)

I call us the graduating class of women chefs. There’s Susan [Feniger] and Nancy Silverton and Suzanne [Goin]. All of us still rely on each other to see what’s going on, what’s current, and what the business trends are. There’s more to it than just food.

Naomi Pomerey (Beast)

It just depends on what kind of guidance or inspiration you’re asking about. I feel really fortunate to have a lot of different friends that are good at different things. I just kind of ask different questions of different people.

Michael Schwartz (The Cypress Room, Harry’s Pizzeria + Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink)

Everybody, every day.

John Sundstrom (Lark)

Somebody like Suzanne Goin or April Bloomfield are great models of chefs who are very current, but they’re also finding ways to grow their businesses. To me, they’re still vibrant. I look to some of the great chefs in Japan and Europe for inspiration for food. I love what somebody like Michel Bras does. He’s been cooking forever in my terms, but I also love the dedication you see in the Japanese chefs. This is your life’s work, it might take you 50, 60 years to get to where you want to be. Someone like Jiro.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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