What happens when star chefs invite their pals to tinker with their menus? The answer: all kinds of deliciousness involving sandwiches and tacos.
Chefs are always looking to one another for inspiration, but recently they've figured out a whole new way to collaborate: by brainstorming craveable new recipes for inexpensive foods like tacos, hot dogs, doughnuts and sandwiches. "I think every chef has the secret guilty pleasure of making an amazing sandwich out of affordable ingredients," says Brad Farmerie of New York City's Genuine Superette. "It's fun to see what they can do with $12." These collaborations are especially popular in cities with tight-knit chef communities. In Portland, Oregon, Jose Chesa's 180 offers a rotating lineup of churros from local superstars like Naomi Pomeroy. "We're always texting after hours about new flavors and ideas," Chesa says. "It's like our little chef version of Pleasantville."
Black Seed Bagels, New York City
Lilia's Missy Robbins, an F&W Best New Chef 2010, is famed for her pastas. She teamed up with Dianna Daoheung, head baker at this Montreal-style bagel shop, to create this Italian-inflected sandwich. 170 Elizabeth St., blackseedbagels.com.
Genuine Superette, New York City
From the start, the menu at chef Brad Farmerie's casual all-day restaurant has featured a sandwich created by an acclaimed guest chef. This pulled-pork one, flavored with curry and coconut milk, is from Jamie Bissonnette of the tapas restaurant Toro. "Jamie immediately gave us a big twist on what we thought he was going to go for," says Farmerie. "Spanish went Thai in a hurry." Explains Bissonnette, "I am so excited for Toro Bangkok, I jumped at the opportunity." 191 Grand St., eatgenuine.com.
Galaxy Taco, San Diego
"There's nothing intimidating about tacos—they're all about fun," says Trey Foshee, an F&W Best New Chef 1998. At his Taco Tuesday Takeovers, Foshee invites chefs he admires (and enjoys hanging out with) to be "guest taqueros." That's how Nate Appleman, an F&W Best New Chef 2009, came to concoct these rule-bending crab tacos. 2259 Avenida De La Playa, galaxytaco.com.