Published April 22, 2012
We've voyaged across America to discover this year's hottest young talent riding a wave of gastronomic creativity from coast to coast. We tip our toques to five chefs 30 and under for the passion they invest in bringing a variety of cuisines ever more forward, and to the energy they have devoted to their craft as they hone their talents. From fusing molecular cuisine with Southern traditions, updating Etruscan stylings in the Bay Area, or becoming America's newest Nordic food ambassador, these young chefs are shaping tomorrow's culinary landscapes in compelling ways.
New York, NY
At 29, Marcus Jernmark is poised to become America's new ambassador of Scandinavian cuisine. A native of Gothenburg, Sweden, he quickly landed the post of executive chef at the Swedish Consulate in New York thanks to his standout talents. Cooking for royalty and Nobel Prize winners showcased his creative, haute Nordic fare, and it was only natural that he would gravitate to the world-class Aquavit. There he was named executive sous chef in 2009 --- and five months later he became executive chef. Jernmark, who was recently named a partner in the restaurant, is adept at combining ancient traditions, including Swedish methods of pickling, preserving and curing, with modern aesthetics and technique. His seasonal Scandinavian cuisine may be trendy now, but he was, and remains, ahead of the game. See photos and read a complete restaurant review of Aquavit.
Locanda Osteria & Bar
San Francisco, CA
Anthony Strong, 29, cut his teeth on French technique as a sous chef at Vincent in Minneapolis, and went on to work with Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin in New York City. In 2005 he was hired by chef Craig Stoll to cook at the San Francisco pizzeria Delfina. Strong was soon in charge, helming the stoves and making annual sojourns to Italy's Amalfi coast and Naples perfecting his pizza and pasta craft. When Stoll opened Locanda Osteria & Bar last year, he put Strong in charge of the Roman menu. To prepare, the young chef spent two months in Rome learning how to update and reinterpret old-school Roman technique. He came back to create a dynamic menu with refined antipasti, a "fifth quarter" section devoted to upscale offal dishes, and house-made pastas that range from the traditional Etruscan style to bright, compelling Cal-Roman inventions. See photos and read a complete restaurant review of Locanda Osteria & Bar
Today Jeremiah Langhorne may be chef de cuisine at McCrady's, Charleston's top spot for post-modern gastronomy, but he wasn't always so fancy. In fact, he began his career delivering pizzas and driving a fish delivery truck. By learning to butcher fish, he landed a job on the kitchen staff under chef John Haywood at Charlottesville's acclaimed OXO, where he worked his way up to executive sous chef. When Langhorne heard about Sean Brock's reinvention of Southern cuisine at McCrady's, he jumped on board as a line cook, and after staging for two months at the famous Noma in Copenhagen, he returned to become sous chef and then chef de cuisine. He describes his food as modern Southern cuisine with indigenous ingredients; and his passions run to foraging in the South Carolina woods, tending the restaurant’s rooftop garden and working on the kitchen's charcuterie program.
In Louisville, 610 Magnolia's 29-year-old chef de cuisine Nick Sullivan goes way beyond mint juleps and barbecue. In fact, he's bringing deep imagination and the most modern techniques of molecular gastronomy to the Southern table, all without sacrificing tradition. Originally from Tennessee, Sullivan attended culinary school where he fell in love with what he terms the "intrigue of food"; he took up the challenge of marrying contemporary cooking techniques with Southern ingredients and old-time hospitality. He developed his cooking style at Louisville's Corbett's, and then found his true calling at Edward Lee's 610 Magnolia where he mans the stoves creating exciting and provocative dishes one might call seasonal molecular, with the likes of gremolata kelp, chicken fried egg yolk and chicory rye soil.
Santa Monica, CA
Chris Crary has gone from smoking ribs as a boy with his Tennessee grandmother to starring on the latest season of "Top Chef," all in a short 30 years. After attending culinary school Crary cooked his way from Key West to San Diego where he landed a gig as executive chef at Jack's La Jolla – Viaggio Dining Room, where he met his current mentor Tony DiSalvo. In 2009, Crary moved to Los Angeles and was named chef de cuisine at Whist restaurant at Viceroy Santa Monica (where DiSalvo is executive chef) dishing up elegant Mediterranean fare. From a stylish five-course wild game dinner to a very California salad of fig and butternut squash with goat cheese and dandelion, creativity is Crary's forte --- and what got him on "Top Chef," where all the world is truly a stage. Watch a video interview with Chris Crary and read a complete restaurant review of Whist.
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