Composite by Kristen Hom
2015 was a good year to be a chef. The profession has officially become one that’s held in high esteem, and every year more and more chefs enter the cultural conversation and move the needle. In 2015, some chefs moved the needle slightly more than others.
Being a professional chef is a grueling, oftentimes thankless job. For every chef who consistently makes headlines and becomes as close to a household name as it’s possible to achieve in that line of work, there are thousands of chefs who slave away day in and day out and never receive a mention on industry blogs. But some chefs, by opening game-changing restaurants and racking up great reviews and accolades, work their way into the collective consciousness and help make noticeable differences in the dining scene, be it local, national, or international.
Most of even the most famous and successful chefs will tell you that they’re not in it for the fame or (moderate) fortune; they’ll tell you that they just want to cook good food and make their customers happy. And that’s probably true: When you’re at the center of the storm, it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees. But by opening new restaurants, publishing cookbooks, and continuing to spread cultural and culinary influence, they can build up a following of millions.
These chefs did all that this year, and more. While they may have been well-known for years by this point, 2015 saw them reach an apex of popularity and recognition; their stars are shining brighter now than they ever have before. If you’re not familiar with some of these chefs, now’s a great time to learn about them, because 2015 belonged to them. If you have the opportunity to sample their cooking, don’t pass it up.