Food & Wine
July 01, 2010

Chefs are the most generous people in the world. Their reason for being is to make others happy by feeding them delicious food. And many chefs go a step further by donating their time to countless events that raise money to help those in need. I, for one, appreciate their efforts on behalf of City Harvest in New York City, my charity of choice. In this issue, we go inside the hearts and heads of some of the world's greatest chefs.

The issue's centerpiece is our story on the 10 Best New Chefs in America—a monumental project. We love searching out and celebrating culinary talent; this year we found rising stars all over, from John Shields of Town House in Chilhowie, Virginia (population: 1,817), to Roy Choi of the Kogi Korean BBQ truck in Los Angeles. The quality of restaurant food is clearly improving across the country. As more people pursue cooking careers and seek out excellent meals outside of fancy dining rooms, our culinary options are multiplying at an exhilarating rate.

These up-and-coming young chefs are energized by visionaries like Pierre Gagnaire. The French master has an intensely loyal chef following for his dazzling, seemingly uncharacterizable cuisine. Contributing editor Jane Sigal sat down with Gagnaire before the opening of his latest restaurant, Twist, at the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, and tried to shed light on why his food continues to inspire so many of the world's best culinary talents.

Chefs also find inspiration in doing good. Star José Andrés, for example, traveled on a humanitarian mission to Haiti to cook for survivors of the massive earthquake and was uplifted by the spirits of the people he met. And Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn, motivated by Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign, has been teaching healthy cooking to kids. I'm ready to try his Mexican pizza and his feta-and-egg burrito with turkey bacon. I hope this issue provides sustenance to everyone who reads it, both for body and soul.

Where I'm Coming From

Notes from a recent road trip:

Frederick, MD

Ate at a table in the chef's kitchen of Top Chef star Bryan Voltaggio's restaurant. Ignoring all the flash photography around me, I devoured my goat-cheese ravioli.

Washington, DC

Plume at the Jefferson Hotel takes its namesake's love of wine very seriously: The fantastic wine list matches the elegant food.

Pho So 1
Richmond, VA

On the way to Colonial Williamsburg with my kids, we stopped at this Vietnamese noodle shop for super-fragrant flank-and-skirt-brisket pho.

Follow me on Twitter@fwscout.

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