with as many great up and coming chefs as America, it can be hard to keep track of who’s who. But if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the future of American cuisine is in good hands.


If you are someone who is not shy of trying a spoonful of a suspicious-looking unknown dish, you may often find yourself searching for the next big thing an innovative and promising chef or a mingblowing new restaurant. And if you are a restaurateur on the lookout for the best talents in town who you want to keep an eye out for, look no further. We have compiled a list of the top 10 upcoming chefs in the United States who are sure to make waves in the coming days.

1. Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria, Austin

Edgar opened Nixta Taqueria on a shoestring budget along with his partner and co-owner Sara Mardanbigi, and managed to sail through the pandemic, only to emerge as the winner of the prestigious James Beard Awards 2022. James Beard is often referred to as the Oscars of the food industry and to win the Emerging Chef' category has been a dream come true for Edgar.
At Nixta Taqueria, Edgar has built a Mexican restaurant that offers the traditional cuisine along with a blend of the new world Mexican-American tastes. Since its opening in 2019, Edgar and his small restaurant have earned quite a place for themselves in Austin while the duck carnitas taco and beet tartare tostada have grown their own reputation.

2. Angel Barreto, Anju, Washington, D.C.

Food & Wine had named Angel Barreto among the Best Chefs of 2021. Although he is half Puerto Rican and half Black, Angelo has earned a name for himself for running one of the most successful and popular Korean restaurants in Washington D.C. His marriage with the Korean cuisine has an interesting history. His parents were living in Korea during their military service days, which made her mother try her hand at cooking different Korean dishes. And Angelo himself grew a fondness for the vibrant and delicious Korean food.
Today, Angelo can thus afford to boast that there are very few chefs who can cook Asian and particularly Korean food as good as him. The flavors and tastes of Korea coming from the hands of a Black man has made Anju an even popular name on the streets of D.C.

3. Calvin Eng, Bonnie’s, New York City

After spending years working as a sous chef and later as a chef with several New York restaurants such as Win Son and Nom Wah, Calvin finally opened up his own joint named Bonnie's in Brooklyn. After opening in December, the Cantonese-American eatery has already garnered rave reviews from the likes of The New York Times and Eater. Calvin also found a mention in 2022's James Beard Awards, although he didn't win the category.
He has named the restaurant after his mother and Calvin has now made it his mission to spread awareness about Cantonese food. From reality TV to awards shows, he is quickly becoming a popular face and a New York hot property. So if you are in Brooklyn and interested in Asian delicacies, drop in before the queues start getting longer.

4. Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani, Asheville, North Carolina

This Indian-origin chef, who has taken the Indian spicy and tangy chaats to the U.S., is the latest to emerge as the Outstanding Restaurant' winner in the James Beard Awards 2022. Meherwan went from India to pursue an MBA in the U.S. and bagged a job in the automotive industry. At age 39, Meherwan took a leap of faith and opened up an Indian joint in a White neighborhood. The home-style food he learnt to cook from his mother has now won hearts across the race and culture barriers.
Meherwan and his wife have designed Chai Pani with a quintessential Bombay canteen vibe where no item is priced over $14. And now the layered and simplistic bhelpuri and aloo tikki have become the bestsellers of this small eatery in Asheville. With the James Beard Award in his kitty, Meherwan is now all smiles and rearing to go.

5. Cleophus Hethington, Benne on Eagle, Asheville, North Carolina

After being named among the finalist in the Emerging Chef' category at the James Beard Awards 2022, Cleophus quit Benne on Eagle, reported the Eater. He had succeeded an elite list of chefs at Benne that has often found its name ranked for various awards and recognitions. Cleophus has meanwhile managed to stay true to his Black origins and introduced multiple Haitian and Ghanian dishes to the Benne offerings, which earned him critical acclaim as well as the James Beard nomination.

6. Serigne Mbaye, Dakar Nola, New Orleans

With Dakar Nola, a fine dining pop-up in New Orleans, Serigne Mbaye is working on a mission to bring traditional west African delicacies into the light and share them with the world. Serigne has already settled a piece of Senegal in New Orleans with the establishment of Dakar Nola, he is now working to get west African food the same recognition and respect French or Italian cuisine enjoy among larger sections of the population. While places like New York and Philadelphia may already have a few places that sell Senegalese cuisine, it is still not a popular palate and Serigne is eyeing that target.

7. Crystal Wahpepah, Wahpepah’s Kitchen, Oakland, California

Chef Crystal Wahpepah is someone who is working with the goal of giving a platform to her Native American origins, the traditional food that is revered as medicinal among her people. Since the opening of Wahpepah's Kitchen in Oakland, she has created quite the buzz for her dishes and also earned a nomination for the 2022 James Beard Awards. She was among the finalist in the Emerging Chef' category.

8. Jimmy Bannos Jr, The Purple Pig, Chicago

Jimmy Bannor Jr, a former James Beard nominee, is a fourth generation restaurateur based in Chicago. He was exposed to the family's Louisiana-style restaurant and its cooking at the early age of five. Jimmy later grew up to share his father's passion for food and spent some time working with several top chefs in New York City. Later, he went back to Chicago to open his own restaurant, The Purple Pig, where he brought back his love for Italian, Spanish and Greek flavors from his growing up and travelling days.

9. Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Maine

At 18, Cara Stadler enrolled with the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, six years later she opened her first restaurant. She has since won multiple awards, nominations and accolades, including the Food & Wine Best Chef' award and James Beard nominations. She is now the owner of Tao Yuan, Bao Bao Dumpling House and other small businesses along with her mother, who is also her business partner.

10. Lee Wolen, Boka, Chicago

Lee Wolen's journey of being a chef took him to some of the best chefs and restaurants of the world and later brought him to Chicago where he works as the Executive Chef at the Boka restaurant. Lee was named the 2014 Chef of the Year' by Chicago Tribune and Eater Chicago and also nominated as a finalist for the prestigious James Beard Awards. Under Lee, Boka has managed to retain its single Michelin star for over a decade.