This year, StarChefs.com was proud to announce the 9th class of New York City “Rising Stars”—a selection of 26 upstart chefs, beverage professionals, artisans and innovators. This year, two ICE alumni—Ann Redding, Chef/Owner of Uncle Boons, and Mina Pizarro, Pastry Chef at Juni—were named among the city’s young leaders. We were also thrilled to host an exclusive panel discussion with a handful of these promising new talents. Read below their thoughts on everything from landing that first job and finding the right mentor to becoming the kind of leader that will shape the industry’s future.
How have mentors shaped your career?
- Richard Kuo (Pearl & Ash): I got hired at wd~50 after a four month stage, and what I learned most from Wylie was to question every little thing you do. Cooks generally don’t question the cause and effect of what they’re doing—it’s all “yes, chef.” But it should be like mathematics, and once you understand the basic principles, you can think outside the box.
- Mina Pizarro (Juni): My greatest mentor was Richard Capizzi. What I initially thought was crazy—soulful cooking—that’s what Richard is. That’s what he taught me and the yield is contentment.
- Erin Kanagy-Loux (Reyard): Peter Edris was my mentor in school. Anything I was frustrated with, he pushed me to do it again, again, again. He helped me to understand the way things work and inspired me to get into teaching.
- John Daley (New York Sushi Ko): When someone you respect who is a driver in the industry will tell you what he or she knows—listen. You may not understand what or why he’s telling you to do something—you may even disagree—but then five, ten years later it will suddenly hit you, and you’ll realize why.