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Food Writers and Experts on Chefs and Restaurants to Watch in 2014

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Illustration: Eric Lebofsky

Hooray, 2014 has finally arrived with promises of spectacular new restaurants and the renewed potential for talented chefs to finally have a breakthrough year. And so it is that today, the last in Eater's ongoing series of year-end surveys, 30 food writers and friends of the site name their chefs and restaurants to watch in 2014. Though the names here are all across the board (and map), these experts seem to agree that it'll be a big year for Mexican gastronomy, led by Pujol's Enrique Olvera. New Yorkers are keeping an eye on both Sara Kramer of Glasserie and new projects from John Fraser and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, while Brae in Australia and chef Jeremy Fox in LA are picking up buzz elsewhere. Meanwhile, MAD Symposium director Ali Kurshat Altinsoy hints at exciting changes at Nashville's Catbird Seat. Here's the full list:

Andrew Zimmern, Host of Bizarre Foods:

I hope my pals Jamie Bissonette and Matthew Jennings get all the awards they so heartily deserve for kicking ass in 2013.

I think Josh Habiger's Pinewood Social Club in Nashville is the coolest new concept I have seen in years…breakfast to dinner with pool/bowling and social hang…think Ace Hotel lobby in NYC but with more going on. I swung by just to peek in last week and it blew my mind. Ditto Ivan Orkin's new ramen spot in NYC.

Kate Krader, Food & Wine Restaurant Editor:

The places that I already wish were closer to me: Roy Choi's Line Hotel in LA; Corey Lee's French bistro in San Francisco; and Nico Osteria from Paul Kahan and Erling Wu-Bower in Chicago.

Kat Kinsman, Managing Editor of CNN Eatocracy:

Lisa Donovan — Husk and the Buttermilk Road Supper Club

Vivian Howard — Chef and the Farmer

Ashley Christensen — (And the million things she has opening this year)

Greg Best — (Whatever he does next)

Missy Robbins — (I can't wait to see where she ends up.)

Sarah Simmons — (City Grit in a bigger space, I hope)

Ian Knauer — (I'm eager to see what happens at The Farm Cooking School.)

And, not a restaurant, but I'm just so very giddy about Matt Rodbard and Andrew Zimmern's book collaboration, with Francis Lam at the editorial helm. Smart, thoughtful gents all around.

Ali Kurshat Altinsoy, MAD Symposium Director:

I've been waiting years for James Lowe to have his own place in London and soon he finally will. Albert [Adria] in Barcelona is already set to open two new restaurants there that I'm certain will be instant successes. Momofuku Ko 2.0!! I really want to eat at Estela and Trois Mec, both of which look like they could really become special destinations. The same for Mission Cantina and Luksus, too. There's an announcement imminent at the Catbird Seat that I'm very excited about. In Paris, David Toutain has just opened his own restaurant, which I'm sure will be a hit.

Helen Rosner, Executive Digital Editor of Saveur:

Lee Wolen [formerly] at The Lobby at the Peninsula in Chicago is doing beautiful, smart, subtle stuff with a vibrant midwestern pantry and a very New York, very accessibly formal sensibility. He had a pretty good 2013, but I have a feeling his 2014 will blow the roof off.

John Fraser is opening a new restaurant in New York City's Standard East. [Photo: Dovetail]

Amanda Kludt, Eater Editorial Director:

For selfish reasons — it's across from Eater HQ — I'm excited for John Fraser's restaurant in the Standard East to open. And I'm incredibly excited for Chris Cannon to have a New York City restaurant again with the opening of All'Onda. I would also keep an eye on Roberta's, since they always have an expansion plan up their sleeves.

Adrian Moore, Paris-based food writer and Mandarin Oriental concierge:

Alix Lacloche, a fetching half-French/half-American Parisienne who did time at Chez Panisse and Boulette's Larde, cheffed at La Tete dans les Olives, and created some of Monsieur Bleu's menu is on the rise to be sure. Although she remains largely in the shadows, catering for private clients, and preparing itinerant dinners for the foodie smart set and creative media honchos, her vision and talent might soon change the way the French capital sees international comfort food. At the moment, she is embracing her self-defined role as Sandwich Queen, preparing sarnies to take away or share at her table, but look for other interesting projects from her in the near future.

Also Emperor Norton, the cult catering company behind Paris' best niche coffee shops is one to watch. Omid Tavallai, an expat San Franciscan and his wife Alannah reacted to the dearth of good quality comfort food in Paris by doing it themselves and then selling it to the coolest storefronts in town. From extensive home experimentation to participation at worldwide food conferences such as MAD, they have honed their skills and brought joy to many a heart with Anglo-style comfort food made with love and the finest French artisanal products.

Joshua David Stein, food writer and New York Observer restaurant critic:

Todd English's Bonfire Grill. Kidding. I have no idea, sadly.

Ben Leventhal, Eater Co-Founder:

I think John Fraser at the Standard East in New York is going to be special. Also for its vegetable focus, Jean-Georges' new iteration of ABC will be important.

Brooks Reitz. Based on his Instagram feed, I'm not sure when that guys sleeps. Sara Kramer, in the kitchen at Glasserie, should have a big year. I'm not sure if he qualifies, but Ori Menashe should be named a Best New Chef.

Greg Morabito, Editor of Eater NY:

I think Chris Jaeckle might blow up in 2014, and maybe the Contra boys. And I hope more people discover Sara Kramer's food at Glasserie.

Kyle Nabilcy, Isthmus food writer:

Here in Wisconsin's capital, pizza fans are watching the fortunes of Salvatore's Tomato Pies of neighboring Sun Prairie very closely. On a crust that challenges that of heavy-hitter Ian's Pizza, these pies are topped both traditionally (pepperoni and mushrooms) and a bit more haute (duck confit, blue crab). Owner Patrick DePula is hoping to open a second location in Madison proper, and the ambition in this shop is backed up by its product.

Enrique Olvera of Mexico City's Pujol and a forthcoming restaurant in New York City. [Photo: Fiamma Piacentini]

Marie-Claude Lortie, Columnist at La Presse:

Here in Montréal, I will be watching Charles-Antoine Crête, who worked with Montréal's gastronomic godfather Normand Laprise for 14 years, as he starts out on his own. That will be the big opening. Elsewhere, I hope to go to Mexico to try Enrique Olvera's cooking. I think Mexican gastronomy is exploding and should/will gather as much attention as Peruvian and Brazilian avant-garde cooking in 2014. Other place to watch: Germany.

As for chefs, let's watch women chefs like Margot Henderson in London or Colombe St-Pierre here in Quebec, or Helena Rizzo in São Paulo or Pia Leon in Lima. I bet they'll be better than ever in 2014. If not in 2014, maybe in 2015, I bet Emily Homsy, who runs the Pied de Cochon kitchen here in Montréal will be up to great things!

James Casey, Founder of Swallow Magazine:

Mexican chefs will continue to march into our consciousness. Enrique Olvera for sure. Also Contramar will make big strides, too. Viva Mexico.

Matt Buchanan of The New Yorker:

I'm really curious to see what Greg Best, who left Holeman & Finch a few months ago, does whenever his new joint opens next Spring/Summer. He helped establish the cocktail scene in Atlanta in a major way, so the expectations for whatever his new place turns out to be are astoundingly high.

Also how can you not be excited for Jean-Georges doing a raw/vegan restaurant? Like AHHHHHHH.

Elizabeth Auerbach, food writer and blogger behind ElizabethOnFood:

Tom Sellers of Restaurant Story in London, Moshik Roth of &samhoud places in Amsterdam, and Antonin Bonnet of Le Sergent Recruteur in Paris.

Kat Odell, Editor of Eater LA:

Chefs: David Nayfeld, Sergio Perera.

Restaurants: Untitled Josh/Zoe Loeb + Bryant Ng project, Bernhard Mairinger's new restaurant, Fifty Seven, Moon Juice expansion, Travis Lett's ramen restaurant, Wexler's Deli, Night + Market Song, Spring, Pot, LA Chapter, whatever Tim Hollingsworth does...

Zach Brooks, founder of Midtown Lunch and co-host of the Food is the New Rock podcast:

"Breakthrough" is admittedly silly to use for somebody who has Michelin stars under his belt, but I think 2014 will be the year that Jeremy Fox finally sheds the ridiculous reputation he's gotten over the years (sound familiar to you, Eater?) and get back to being considered one of the best chefs in the world. Finally getting to work for restaurant owners who aren't complete lunatics will do that for a person, and Zoe Loeb and Josh Nathan (Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry, Milo & Olive) are two of L.A.'s best!

Per-Anders and Lotta Jorgensen, Editors of Fool Magazine:

Christian Puglisi, Dan Hunter's Brae, Oaxen.

Brae Restaurant, Melbourne. [Photo: Twitter]

Sharlee Gibb, Melbourne-based writer and restaurant expert:

Look out for the creativity and instinct of Ben Sears of Moon Park and Pasi Petanen of Cafe Paci. Both these guys have stepped up to take on their own kitchens and are killing it. Dan Hunter is certainly not an up-and-coming chef — he has forged his career at Mugaritz and Royal Mail Hotel — however this month has seen the opening of his own restaurant, Brae, set on acreage choc full of veggie gardens just a stone throw from the Great Ocean Road. With early reports whispering through the winds, it is poised to take the full sweep of accolades as award season rolls around next year.

Robbie Swinnerton, Japan Times restaurant reviewer and Tokyo Food File blogger:

2013 was the breakout year for Jimbocho Den: In 2014, expect the mainstream to start catching up and lionizing this innovative restaurant and its irrepressible chef, Zaiyu Hasegawa.

And watch the reborn L'Osier pick up plaudits, gongs, and stars (it formerly had three), under its new head chef, Gagnaire alumnus Olivier Chaignon.

Alexandra Forbes, Food Writer and Columnist of Folha de São Paulo:

Virgilio Martinez, from Lima and Mexico's Enrique Olvera will soon achieve Alex Atala level of recognition internationally. The restaurants to watch in 2014 are the excellent Kitchen Table, one of the best in all of London, and Gastrologik in Stockholm.

Adam Goldberg, blogger behind A Life Worth Eating:

It's starting to feel like 2014 will be the year of haute Mexican cuisine in New York. There are a handful of places taking the cuisine somewhat seriously right now, but even my favorites like Empellón and Tacombi get their masa from Tortillería Nixtamal, which is a far cry from the masa found in Mexico.

I have my eye on Enrique Olvera of Mexico City's Pujol, who will be opening Cosme in Flatiron just before the summer. I've seen dishes from the proposed menu; this is the real deal. This will be the first Mexico City chef to open in New York in some time. Cosme, named after the Mercado San Cosme in Mexico City, will import its corn from Mexico to create its own masa in-house. Perhaps they will even start to distribute their masa to other local restaurants, raising the bar for everyone. Daniel Ovadía of Paxia, Mexico City, will be opening a space in New York as well. There's a lot to look forward to.

Mike Thelin, Feast Portland Co-Organizer:

I can't wait to try Jeremiah Langhorne's restaurant in DC. Austin is a great pastry chef/dessert town, but less impressive in the bakery category. New places by Jodi Elliott and Uchi's Phillip Speer are going to change that. And speaking of Texas, Matt McCallister of FT33 in Dallas is definitely one to watch rise.

The Gurgling Cod:

Aaron Manter, The Owl, Whitney Otawka, Cinco y Diez. And Dave Broadrick will be taking VT resort dining in new, non-shitty directions.

Ari Bendersky, Director of Content/Editor-in-Chief of

Even though he was already recognized by Michelin this year with a star, chef Noah Sandoval at Chicago's Senza is truly an up-and-coming star. This young chef who has worked with Michael Carlson at Schwa, Takashi Yagihashi at Takashi and Shawn McClain at Spring, made gluten-free food approachable and not scary. You forget that the pasta and bread — made mostly in-house — is without wheat but yet it's full of flavor. The well-designed and intimate dining room is more of a date night spot than an everyday neighborhood place (due to the nature of the tasting menus). And whether Sandoval stays here or moves on, you will continue to hear his name. The guy is super talented and he's really nice to boot.

Brooklyn's Glasserie — and its chef Sara Kramer — top the list of ones to watch in 2014 for several of these food writers and experts. [Photo: Bess Adler]

Kerry Diamond, Editor of Cherry Bombe:

My money is on Sara Kramer at Glasserie in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and Preeti Mistry at Juhu Beach Club in Oakland. Both are off the grid in terms of real estate and menu. Rabbit is a hard sell even in Brooklyn, but Sara has made it her signature dish. She's also sprinkled the menu with Middle Eastern touches. Preeti's place is in a strip mall, across from a pawnshop, and she's redefining what Indian food means today. Her version is playful and seasonal.

I need to give an honorable mention to Vivian Howard. I haven't eaten at The Chef and The Farmer, her restaurant in Kinston, N.C., but I love her low-key, heartfelt PBS series. She also cooked an amazing meal at this year's Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium. It takes a lot of guts to leave New York and bring updated dining to your tiny hometown down South. She has the potential to be an important voice in the food world.

Brooks Headley isn't quite an up-and-comer, but I'm really excited for his upcoming cookbook. He's the real deal, and the world could use more punk rock pastry chefs.

As for upcoming restaurants, it's all about the Amandas in 2014. I think everyone in Chelsea is pumped that Amanda Freitag is revamping the Empire Diner. Dining options are so limited in that neighborhood, despite it being art gallery central. Plus, she's a celebrity chef who knows her way around a restaurant kitchen. So it could be very, very exciting.

Then on the other side of Manhattan, Amanda Cohen is working on the next chapter of Dirt Candy. Her fans, of which I'm one, are thrilled the tiny restaurant will move to a bigger location at some point next year. Dirt Candy is one of the best, most innovative restaurants in New York, but it doesn't get the love it or Amanda deserves. Perhaps a change of address will help.

Janice Leung Hayes, blogger behind e_ting in Hong Kong:

In Asia, I'd keep an eye on Singapore's young chefs and entrepreneurs. Andre Chiang and Malcolm Lee are household names locally that should break onto the international stage soon. A new generation of hawkers will change the game, too.

Adam Roberts, Amateur Gourmet blogger and cookbook author:

Jeremy Fox in L.A. is such a superstar, and the food he's making at Rustic Canyon is so stupendous, I hope he blows up worldwide this year. He deserves a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I'm really excited to eat at Republique here in L.A. Seems like it'll be the next big thing, the way everyone's talking about it. But you're Eater and I'm not, so you probably know better than I do!

Bonjwing Lee, photographer and blogger behind the Ulterior Epicure:

Daniel Ryan and Kim Floresca opened [ONE] in Chapel Hill, North Carolina this year. Their pedigree is unmatched: between them, the two have worked at elBulli, Per Se, The French Laundry, Alinea, TRU, among other kitchens, including The Restaurant at Meadowood, where Floresca was executive sous chef and Daniel Ryan was the sous chef (in charge of pastries). Assisting Ryan in pastry at [ONE] is Jonathan Fisher, who just spent more than a year in the pastry kitchen at El Celler de Can Roca under Jordi Roca. I ate at [ONE] last month, and I see that they are striving to bring a new perspective to the dining scene in "The Triangle." They've got talent, energy, and enthusiasm to spare. More importantly, they understand and care about quality. I hope they succeed.

Edmund Tijerina, San Antonio Express-News Restaurant Critic:

Cured. Steve McHugh, formerly of John Besh's group and the chef who opened Lüke here, is going out on his own with a place that features house-made charcuterie and all kinds of pickled items as elements in the dishes. It's going to have an excellent cocktail program and the food community here is so excited about this one.

· All Year in Eater 2013 Coverage [-E-]