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The 35 Best Chefs & Restaurant Experts to Follow in 2017

Posted by AJ Beltis on 1/19/17 3:00 PM in Industry News & Trends

20 minute read Print

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QSR Magazine recently reported that 2016 was one of the worst years for restaurants in recent history. 

Despite industry advancements and innovations like new online ordering systems and the wide introduction of self order kiosks, restaurants are still struggling with issues like employee turnover and high food costs.

Now, it's 2017, and with a new year comes a new opportunity to stand out in the restaurant industry. To get your restaurant to the place where you want it to be, it's not a bad idea to take advice from and get inspired by some of the leading experts in the field. 

So, to help you out with that, I've rounded up the best chefs and restaurant experts to follow online in 2017.

Plus, we've also released a new guide on Restaurant Success in 2017. Compiled from the insight of over 400 restaurateurs, this is surely a must-read for any restaurant owner or manager who wants to achieve success this year.

Download the Restaurant Success in 2017 Report here.

Making the List of 2017's Leading Food & Restaurant Experts

Last year, Toast blogger Allie Tetreault compiled a list of the Top 30 Restaurant Experts To Follow in 2016This year, I've done the same, and while a few of the names are familiar to this list, I've found some new chefs and restaurant experts to add.

I believe their presence on your timeline will be most welcome.

To be included on this list, one must be:

  • A chef or restaurant owner.
  • A restaurant chain professional.
  • A restaurant consultant.
  • A trailblazing food or restaurant celeb.
  • A reporter or thought leader in the food and/or restaurant industry.

Additionally, these restaurant leaders must be active on Twitter within the past month and have more than 1,000 followers. Their social reach must be great, and they must post excellent restaurant content about kitchen management, food, and/or restaurant marketing. 

The following is an alphabetical list, by first name, of the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry. Restaurateurs and chefs, open up your Twitter account and follow these industry professionals for some great day-to-day restaurant insights! 

The Top 35 Restaurant Influencers to Follow in 2017

 

Alex Van Burenalex van buren

Food and Travel Writer
Journalist. Food/ travel writer. Digital editor/ strategist. Bylines: Travel & Leisure, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Epicurious, Food and Wine. 
@alexvanburen - www.alexvanburen.com



Allie Tetreault allie2.png

Restaurant Blogger, Toast
Content Marketing Specialist at Toast, Journalist, Blogger, Acappella alto, Wheaton College Grad, Entertainment Buff.
@aktetreault - pos.toasttab.com/blog


 

Anthony Bourdain anthony.png

Chef, Author, TV Personality
Anthony Bourdain is a celebrity chef, world traveler, bestselling author, and host of The Travel Channel's Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.
@Bourdain - www.anthonybourdain.net/


 
Barbara Castigliacast.png

Executive Editor, Modern Restaurant Management
Executive Editor, Modern Restaurant Management. bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com
@bcastiglia44 www.modernrestaurantmanagement.com


 

Barbara Lynchlynch.png

Founder & CEO, Barbara Lynch Gruppo
Founder & CEO of Barbara Lynch Gruppo (No. 9 Park, B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, Stir, Drink, Sportello, Menton).
@barbaralynchBOS www.barbaralynch.com


 

Bradley Toft brad.png

The Restaurant Guy
Bradley Toft - The Restaurant Guy. Husband, Dad, and a work in progress. Risk Specialist at Newman & Tucker Insurance.
@BradleyToft www.bradleytoft.brandyourself.com

 


 

Bruce Irving bruce.png

Host, SPM (Smart Pizza Marketing) Podcast
Founder of SPM Marketing: The #1 Digital marketing platform for pizzerias  | Speaker | Podcaster | Host of the #1 SPM Podcast : Family First. 
@Irvingmedia www.smartpizzamarketing.com


 

chef chris hillChris Hill 

Author, Making the Cut & Chef, Bach Kitchen 
Leadership and Branding Restaurant Guy - Entrepreneur - Author + 2X TEDx Speaker.
@bachkitchen www.chrishillonline.com/writing


 

dana cowinDana Cowin 

Creative Director, Chefs Club International
Chefs Club International creative director & evangelist. Former Editor-in-Chief Food & Wine. Adventure organizer.
@fwscout - www.chefsclub.com


 

danny meyerDanny Meyer

CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group
Restaurateur, always Setting the Table. Danny, his restaurants and chefs have earned an unprecedented 25 James Beard Awards.
@dhmeyer - www.ushgnyc.com

 


 

David Henkes david.png

Advisory Group Senior Principal, Technomic
Global food/beverage industry trendwatcher, consultant, and connoisseur. Advisory Group Senior Principal Technomic.
@davidhenkeswww.davidhenkes.com

 


 

Devra Firstdevra.png

Food Editor, The Boston Globe 
Food editor at The Boston Globe. Trying to save the world from the misplaced modifier.
@devrafirst - www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/food-dining

 


  

danyelle freemanDanyelle Freeman 

Founder, RestaurantGirl.com 
Food-obsessed writer at RestaurantGirl.com; Author of Try This: Traveling The Globe Without Leaving The Table.
@restaurantgirl - www.restaurantgirl.com


 

donald burnsDonald Burns

The Restaurant Coach™
The Restaurant Coach™, industry expert at  and Toast. Former USAF Pararescue. My mission: build your brand, strengthen your team, increase your profits.
@donaldburns - www.donaldburns.net


 

Eric Cacciatore eric.png

Host, RestaurantUnstoppable  
Host, RestaurantUnstoppable Podcast. Successful hospitality professionals telling their stories of success and sharing their mentorship. 
@EricCacciatorewww.restaurantunstoppable.com


 

hudson riehleHudson Riehle 

Senior Vice President, National Restaurant Association
National Restaurant Association - SVP, Research & Knowledge Group.
@HudsonRiehle - www.restaurant.org


 

Jim Meehan jim.png 

Bartender and Author, The PDT Cocktail Book 
Bartender, Author, Editor, Educator, Advisor, Husband, Father, Designer, French Bulldog Whisperer.
@mixographymixographyinc.com
 


 

James Hoffmann james.png

World Barista Champion and Author, The World Atlas of Coffee
Square Mile Coffee Roasters / World Barista Champion / Author of The World Atlas of Coffee.
@jimseven - www.jimseven.com  

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Jamie Oliverjamie.png

Celebrity Chef & Restaurateur 
Official Jamie Oliver: Proud Dad & Chef.
@jamieoliverwww.jamieoliver.com


 

Joe Bastianich joeb.png

Restaurateur, Author, and Television Personality 
Restaurant man extraordinaire.
@Jbastianichwww.joebastianich.com

 


 

chef john beshJohn Besh

Chef, Author of Best Big Easy
Author, chef & restaurateur dedicated to preserving our nation's foodways. Follow along for updates from the 18 restaurants in NOLA, San Antonio, and Nashville.
@chefjohnbesh - www.chefjohnbesh.com


 

jonathan mazeJonathan Maze

Financial Editor, Nation's Restaurant News 
Senior Financial Editor at Nations Restaurant News. Egghead. Married up to . Opinions pre-approved by a blue ribbon panel of experts.
@jonathanmaze - www.nrn.com/author/jonathan-maze


 

Kelly Killian kelly.png

Editor, Restaurant Business Magazine
Editor, Restaurant Business magazine. Obsessed with magazines, food, decorating, weddings, blogs, Pinterest, and reality TV...you know, the good stuff.
@kellykillian - LinkedIn

 


 

ken burginKen Burgin

Owner, Profitable Hospitality 
Helping restaurant, cafe, club & hotel operators to be more profitable. Focus on marketing, management, cost-control, training, staff. Plus a weekly podcast.
@KenBurgin - www.profitablehospitality.com

 


 

Liz Grossman liz.png

Managing Editor, Plate Magazine 
Managing Editor of Plate Magazine, writer, and co-founder of Between Bites and Instagram curator of nails and food.
@elizabites  - liz.grossman.com

 


 

Leo Robitschekleo.png

Cocktail Apprentice Manager, Tales of the Cocktail
Helping restaurant, cafe, club & hotel operators to be more profitable. Focus on marketing, management, cost-control, training, staff. Plus a weekly podcast.
@lrobitschek - https://talesofthecocktail.com/

 


 

Levi Dalton levi.png

Host, I'll Drink to That 
Trying to break as few corks as possible. Host of the I'll Drink to That! wine podcast.
@leviopenswine - https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/illdrinktothatpods-podcast

  


 

mario bataliMario Batali

Chef, Restaurateur 
Food, like most things, is best when left to its own simple beauty.
@Mariobatali - www.mariobatali.com


 

mark morenoMark Moreno

President, MM Restaurant Development 
Winning Strategies, Processes, & Innovations for Restaurants
@foodsho - www.mark-moreno.strikingly.com


 

Michael Chernow michael.png

Restaurant Owner
Co-Owner of The Meatball Shop, Owner of Seamore's, host of Food Porn. NYC born & bred.
@MichaelChernowwww.seamores.com


 

Paul Barron  paul.png

CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Foodable 
CEO, editor in chief, Exec Produce at Foodable, largest WebTV Network in food. Founder of RSM Index and Fast Casual. Author of The Chipotle Effect. 
@paulbarron - https://www.foodabletv.com/


  

Peter Romeo pete.png

Editor, RestaurantBusinessOnline
Editor at Large for RestaurantBusinessOnline.com and FoodServiceDirector.com. Covering the restaurant industry since 1984.
@PeterRomeo -


  

ron rugglessRon Ruggless

Southwest Bureau Chief, Nation's Restaurant News 
Senior editor at Nation's Restaurant News | Roughly 60% water (results may vary)
@RonRuggless - www.nrn.com/author/ron-ruggless


 

Roy Yamaguchi roy.png

Chef & Restaurateur 
Award winning chef, inventor of Hawaiian Fusion® Cuisine & founder of Roy's Hawaii, Eating House 1849, Roy's Beach House, and new concept aboard the MSC Seaside.
@RoysRoy - www.royyamaguchi.com


 

Ted Allen ted.png

Host, CHOPPED 
Emmy/James Beard Award-winning host of Food Network's CHOPPED, the most aggressive cooking show on TV— Esquire
@TheTedAllen - www.tedallen.net


Please note that with so many knowledgeable professionals in the restaurant industry, there's no way we could have fit everyone on this list. So let us know who we’re missing!

Congratulations to everyone featured here, and good luck to contenders next year! Who did you think were the most influential restaurant experts? Who would you add to the list? Leave a comment below! 

Want more tips for running an efficient restaurant? Download Toast's Restaurant Success in 2017 Industry Report!

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toast restaurant management blog

Written by: AJ Beltis

AJ Beltis managed Toast's blog and content library for more than two years. He also started the company's restaurant success podcast, The Garnish. When he's not writing, he's probably watching one of his favorite movies for the 30th time or planning his next road trip. He loves to travel and experience all the different kinds of toast the world has to offer.


Leave a comment today. 

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