Order up: our NYC celebrity chef lineup is fresh out the kitchen.
1 April Bloomfield
Ms. April Bloomfield: Michelin star-wielding Top Chef prodigy and pioneer of New York City's gastropub movement. That's right, a five-foot-four England native with a penchant for duck fat and finesse with a butcher knife. Though she be but little, she is fierce. Bloomfield's NYC hotspots each have individual character but share one thing in common: killer eats. Whether it's the immaculately crisscrossed, grilled-to-perfection cheeseburger at The Spotted Pig or the sausage-stuffed pig's trotter at The Breslin, there's no doubt that the wait for a table and subsequent food coma are absolutely worth it.
2 Andrew Carmellini
Italo-American chef, restaurateur, author, and foodie adventure aficionado Andrew Carmellini has made his mark on Manhattan with four standout spots across the island, harnessing three succinct cuisines in four staple city spots. With six years as Daniel Boulud's Chef de Cuisine and stars left and right, this ragazzo knows a thing or two about good food and staying at the top in a cutthroat industry. Feeling American? Hit up The Dutch for feel-good local fare and a whiskey selection inhabiting a full third of the drink menu. For pasta perfection and general cool vibes, Locanda Verde and Bar Primi are a must. Carmellini's foray into the French comfort food realm has also been fruitful with the 2013 addition of Lafayette, giving New York's cuisine Française a mouthwatering second wind. The in-house boulangerie may have had something to do with that.
3 Mario Carbone
Ah, Major Food Group. A lethal combination of three forces wreaking awe-inspiring havoc on the New York City restaurant industry. Unapologetic, too-cool spots have popped up without warning as a result of Torrisi, Zalaznick, and Carbone's creative genius. March 2013 saw the opening of the latter's very own kitchen in the heart of Greenwich Village in the former legendary Rocco's space. Carbone, a nod to NYC's mid-20th century Italian-American eateries, combines elegance in its décor with modern-meets-old-world dishes. Queens native Mario Carbone's impressive résumé includes stints under notable chefs such as Boulud, Dufresne, and Batali, catapulting him to success in the world of white coats.
4 Daniel Boulud
The Boulud empire, comprised of 13 outposts nationwide (eight in New York City alone), has blossomed under Lyonnais Daniel Boulud's Michelin-starred hand since its birth in the mid-1990s. Monsieur Boulud's spectrum ranges from charcuterie-centric menus and Mediterranean delicacies to French-brasserie-meets-American-tavern concepts, accruing awards left and right from downtown to uptown and all the 'hoods in between. The common factor, Boulud's signature soulful traditional French cooking with a touch of contemporary appeal, draws crowds from all walks of foodie life. Whether it's date night or national fancy takeout day, Boulud and friends have got it covered.
5 Daisuke Nakazawa
Omakase [oh-mah-kah-seh], noun: a Japanese phrase meaning "it's up to you." In other words, "chef's choice." In other other words, the foundation upon which Sushi Nakazawa was built. Japanese-born Daisuke Nakazawa, former apprentice to Jiro Ono, spent 11 years perfecting the art of sushi prior to making his pilgrimage to the US and eventually teaming up with industry guru Alessandro Borgognone to open what is now New York's most epic twenty-course sushi experience. There's a reason for the crowds a-clamoring for a seat at the sushi bar; seeing Nakazawa in action is as entertaining as his creations are mind-blowing.