The 35 Best Chefs & Restaurant Experts to Follow in 2017

By: AJ Beltis

12 Minute Read

Mar 13, 2018

You must have Javascript enabled in order to submit forms on our website. If you'd like to contact Toast please call us at:

(857) 301-6002


Just so you know, we’ll handle your info according to our privacy statement.



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 2016. This 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 -

Allie Tetreault allie2.png

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

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 -

Barbara Castigliacast.png

Executive Editor, Modern Restaurant Management
Executive Editor, Modern Restaurant Management.
@bcastiglia44 -

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 -

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 -

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 -

chef chris hillChris Hill

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

dana cowinDana Cowin

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

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 -

David Henkes david.png

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

Devra Firstdevra.png

Food Editor, The Boston Globe
Food editor at The Boston Globe. Trying to save the world from the misplaced modifier.
@devrafirst -

danyelle freemanDanyelle Freeman

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

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 -

Eric Cacciatore eric.png

Host, RestaurantUnstoppable
Host, RestaurantUnstoppable Podcast. Successful hospitality professionals telling their stories of success and sharing their mentorship.
@EricCacciatore -

hudson riehleHudson Riehle

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

Jim Meehan jim.png

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

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 -


Jamie Oliverjamie.png

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

Joe Bastianich joeb.png

Restaurateur, Author, and Television Personality
Restaurant man extraordinaire.
@Jbastianich -

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 -

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 -

Kelly Killian kelly.png

Editor, Restaurant Business Magazine
Editor, Restaurant Business magazine. Obsessed with magazines, food, decorating, weddings, blogs, Pinterest, and reality 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 -

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 -

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 -

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 -

mario bataliMario Batali

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

mark morenoMark Moreno

President, MM Restaurant Development
Winning Strategies, Processes, & Innovations for Restaurants
@foodsho -

Michael Chernow michael.png

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

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 -

Peter Romeo pete.png

Editor, RestaurantBusinessOnline
Editor at Large for and 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 -

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 -

Ted Allen ted.png

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

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!

You must have Javascript enabled in order to submit forms on our website. If you'd like to contact Toast please call us at:

(857) 301-6002

First and Last Name is required
Phone Number is required
Restaurant Name is required
What is your role? is required
Yes, I’d like a demo of Toast, a restaurant technology platform.
Yes, I'd like a demo of Toast is required

Just so you know, we’ll handle your info according to our privacy statement.

DISCLAIMER: All of the information contained on this site (the “Content”) is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal, accounting, tax, career or other professional advice. The Content is provided “as-is” without any warranty of any kind express or implied, including without limitation any warranty as to the accuracy, quality, timeliness, or completeness of the Content, or fitness for a particular purpose; Toast assumes no liability for your use of, or reference to the Content. By accessing this site, you acknowledge and agree that: (a) there may be delays in updating, omissions, or inaccuracies in the Content, (b) the Content should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal advisors, (c) you should not perform any act or make any omission on the basis of any Content without first seeking appropriate legal or professional advice on the particular facts or circumstances at issue and (d) you are solely responsible for your compliance with all applicable laws. If you do not agree with these terms you may not access or use the site or Content.