From the desk of Food & Wine's Editor in Chief, Nilou Motamed.
Best New Chef Event
Credit: © 2017 Galdones Photography

We're only halfwaythrough the year, but I already know that one of my favorite memories of 2017 will be the night I told Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson they’d been named two of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs. We were standing outside Kismet, their fantastic new restaurant in Los Angeles, while rush-hour traffic crawled by on Hollywood Boulevard. I’ll never forget the looks on their faces: astonished disbelief slowly turning into pure joy. As Sara and Sarah and I hugged on that Los Feliz sidewalk, I remember thinking: Man, I love this job.

This is the 29th edition of F&W’s Best New Chefs, and it’s no exaggeration to call our 2017 class the most exciting and diverse in memory. These are the people shaping the way we eat in America—from Chicago to New Orleans, San Antonio to the San Juan Islands. Every one of our winners is working tirelessly not just to raise their own game but to rewrite the very rules of restaurant cooking. We’re proud and delighted to welcome them into the F&W family.

RELATED:Ravi Kapur of San Francisco’s Liholiho Yacht Club is a 2016 F&W Best New Chef

Speaking of family and pride, I want to thank our ace restaurant editor, Jordana Rothman, for brilliantly leading the charge in the six-month, nationwide Best New Chefs quest. Jordana and our indefatigable editorial team—big emphasis on “team”—may have single-handedly kept the airline and hotel industries in the black this year. I raise a glass to them, with gratitude for their discerning taste, their boundless talent, and the many meals and late nights we’ve shared putting this list together.

As you’ll see, this is a “best of the best” issue—a celebration not only of our Best New Chefs but also of the most compelling trends we’ve encountered on the road this year. In Trendspotting, we dive into the burgeoning “auteur pizza” scene; the welcome rise of craft mocktails and third-wave bagels; the unexpected redemption of flavored coffee; and the next great Japanese noodle craze. (Is udon the new ramen? We think so.)

Elsewhere, you’ll find a revealing profile of chef Curtis Stone; a spotlight on Marrakech by our well-traveled pal Andrew Zimmern; and a superhelpful list of must-have kitchen tools from the F&W Test Kitchen.

In the "Eat Here Now" feature, Best New Chef alums, including Nancy Silverton, Barbara Lynch and Nobu Matsuhisa, share their favorite spots in their hometowns. And while we’re on the subject of chefs and restaurants, contributing editor Joshua David Stein asks whether—in this age of pop-ups, borrowed kitchens and food trucks—great chefs even need a proper restaurant.

We’re so honored to recognize our Best New Chefs class of 2017, and so thrilled to share their amazing stories and recipes with you, our extended F&W family. I know they will inspire you as much as they have us.

Nilou Motamed, Editor in Chief @niloumotamed