Here at The Watched Pot, we keep our eyes peeled for the latest culinary connoisseur’s and we’ve spotted five of the hottest upcoming chefs who are bound to make it big in 2016. From a sassy Portuguese YouTuber to a Cordon Bleu graduate, these rising stars are sure to set your taste buds tingling!
1. Akis Petrezikis
Akis discovered his passion for food in the midst of the Mediterranean. After qualifying as both an accountant and chef, he left Athens for the gastronomical sights and sounds of London. When he returned he won first place on Masterchef Greece and has since been one of the most sought after chefs in the industry. He became Head Chef at the Metropolitan Hotel in Athens and worked very closely with none other than Michel Roux.
With some pretty insane knife skills and mouth-watering twists on classics this Adonis has proven he can cook up anything from traditional Greek dishes like Souvlaki and Moussaka to French patisserie and British desserts. He now lives in London and frequently appears on Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube…but we smell a book in the making!
2. John Gregory Smith
There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a home-grown chef venture out into the unknown and that’s exactly what John has done. His memories of visiting Turkey with his father inspired him to return and learn about the cuisine. After spending the last ten years there travelling from Bosporus to the Black sea, he released two books Mighty Spice and Mighty Spice Express celebrating spices and street food. Last year he released his third book Turkish Delights which features 100 fantastic recipes, not to mention the stunning food photography. Whether its salads, mezze or seafood, this young “Turk” is breathing life back into the food scene.
3. Ben Ebbrell
What do you get when you cross four cheeky lads and a very hungry online community? The simple answer is one of the biggest YouTube sensations ever: Sorted Food. Ben Ebbrell started the channel with best mates Mike, Barry and Jamie back in 2008 and have since racked up over 1 million subscribers, appeared on several television shows in the UK and US and have seen four cookbooks released to great acclaim. Not bad when only one of them is a chef. Ben Ebbrell has a quick and lovably nerdy way of cooking with awesome twists on classics…blueberries and tarragon in a lemon drizzle! His recipes are quick, easy to follow and based on their fans suggestions. We predict even bigger things from the lads this year so push up those glasses and add a sprig of mint – we reckon a SORTED restaurant is on the way.
4. Raiza Costa
This Portuguese self-taught cook has everything you want in a chef: talent, beauty and a dash of wit. Raiza started her YouTube channel Dulce Delight to showcase her fantastically whimsical approach to French patisserie, and she doesn’t disappoint. Inspired by the 50’s and 60’s and set against a charming turquoise kitchen, her desserts are a treat and prove that you can never get bored with pastries. She’s even made it through to MasterChef, impressing the likes of Gordon Ramsey, so we expect big things from this Brooklyn babe. We’re thinking Dulce Delight…the TV show.
5. Cara Stadler
At the tender age of 27 this Cordon Bleu alumnus has a serious CV. At 16 she started working at Café Rouge then moved to Striped Bass before heading to Paris to stage at Guy Savoy, then Gordon Ramsey’s Au Trianon Palace. By the time she was 21 she was running an underground restaurant in Beijing! In 2014 she was nominated for the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef Award whilst Food & Wine nominated her for Best New Chef. She now runs two restaurants Tao Yuan and Bao Bao Dumpling House in Maine with her mother.
Cara prides herself on sourcing local produce and having a strong Chinese influence on classic French dishes. She’s beautifully confident, fresh-faced and uses seasonal ingredients in unusual ways. She now plans on opening an aquaponics greenhouse next to Tao Yuan this spring in partnership with a local non-profit. Aquaculture and hydroponics…bravo!