Restaurant Types



Visit our hub to explore all types of videos, articles and resources.

Start Learning

The 50 Best Restaurant Experts and Chefs to Follow in 2018

It's that time of year again.

Each year, we strive to equip restaurant owners with the resources they need for a successful new year.

What better way to stay on top of things than to follow this list of restaurant experts – the owners, chefs, and writers who are shaping the industry?

2017 saw a paradigm shift for many restaurants. Diners are still eating out, but their preferences have changed in many ways. Everything from the menu items they are demanding, to the ways they want to place orders, are new to many restaurant professionals.

Restaurateurs, in order to stay on top, have been forced to respond – sometimes reactively.

Following this list of restaurant experts will help you stay on top of the industry, and enable you to make proactive, positive decisions for your business.


Restaurant Success Report

This industry report collects data from restaurant professionals and guests to help you understand what it takes to create a successful restaurant experience from start to finish.


Making the List of 2018's Leading Food & Restaurant Experts

For the past two years, Toast has made lists for the Top 30 Experts and Top 35 Experts to follow, respectively. This year, we're upping the ante to include the 50 Best Restaurant and Food Experts to Follow in 2018.

While you'll definitely see some familiar faces, read through the list and see if you can spot who's new this year. 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 dedicated food blogger.
  • A reporter or thought leader in the food and/or restaurant industry.

Additionally, these restaurant leaders must have been 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, industry news, food, and/or restaurant marketing.

The following is an alphabetical list, by first name, of the most knowledgeable professionals in the restaurant industry.

Open up your Twitter account and be sure to follow these industry professionals for some great day-to-day restaurant insights!

The Top 50 Restaurant Influencers

Aarón Sánchez

Award-Winning Chef, TV Personality, Cookbook Author, and Philanthropist
FOX's MasterChef / Author / Dad / mexiCAN
@AaronSanchez - Website

Adam Goldberg

Editor-in-Chief, Drift and Ambrosia
@alifewortheating on Instagram/Facebook and @lifewortheating on Snapchat.
@LifeWorthEating - Website

Alan Liddle 

Data & Event Content Director, Nation's Restaurant News
Data and event content director. At Nation's Restaurant News since 1984. Also, researcher for Supermarket News Top 75. Formerly: daily/weekly news; restaurants.
@AJ_NRN - Website

Allie Tetreault

Food and Restaurant Blogger, Toast
Content Marketing Manager at Toast, Journalist, Blogger, Acapella alto, Wheaton College Grad. Entertainment Buff.
@aktetreault - Website

Allison Aubrey 

Food Writer, James Beard Award Winner
NPR Correspondent, PBS NewsHour contributor, mom, aspiring yogi, lavender lover.
@AubreyNPRFood - Website

Andrew Carlson 

CEO of Carson Hospitality
On a mission to bring back the customer experience to restaurants in America. Restaurant Speaker. Author. CEO of Carlson Hospitality.
@andrew1110 - Website

Anthony Bourdain

Chef, Author, and Television Personality
@Bourdain - Website


April Bloomfield

Holds a Michelin star at two restaurants.
@AprilBloomfield - Website


Barbara Castiglia 

Executive Editor, Modern Restaurant Management
Executive Editor, Modern Restaurant Management. [email protected].
@bcastiglia44 - Website

Bradley Toft

The Restaurant Specialist
The Restaurant Guy. Husband, Dad, and a work in progress. Risk Specialist at Newman & Tucker Insurance.
@BradleyToft - Website

Bret Thorn
Bret Thorn 

Food Writer, Nation's Restaurant News
Follow the adventures of a New York City food writer. Senior F&B editor, NRN & Restaurant Hospitality.
@FoodWriterDiary - Website

Bruce Irving 

Chef and Restaurateur
Founder SPM Marketing: The #1 Digital marketing platform for pizzerias | Speaker | Podcaster | Host of the top rated SPM Podcast : Family First
@Irvingmedia - Website

Cheryl Bachelder 

Former CEO, Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.
Former Popeyes CEO focused on developing purpose-driven leaders who evidence competence and character in all aspects of their lives. Author of Dare To Serve.
@CABachelder - Website

Chris Hill 

Chef, Bach Kitchen 
Leadership and Branding Restaurant Guy - Entrepreneur - Author + 2X TEDx Speaker. (Chris was also a guest on Toast's podcast, The Garnish! Listen here.)
@bachkitchen - Website

Christina Tosi

Chef, Author, Television Personality, and Owner of Momofoku Milk Bar
Hardbody for life.
@ChristinaTosi - Website

Dan Pashman

Host and Creator, The Sporkful Podcast
Creator/host of The Sporkful podcast at Stitcher and the Cooking Channel web series You're Eating It Wrong and The Snackdown. An eater, not a foodie.
@TheSporkful -

danny meyer
Danny Meyer

CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group
CEO Union Square Hospitality Group. Founder Shake Shack. Always Setting the Table.
@dhmeyer - Website

Dave Gonynor 

CEO/CO-Founder, That's Biz
Helping restaurants, bars, and chains attract new customers and drive repeat visits.
@thatsbiz - Website

David Henkes 

Advisory Group Senior Principal, ‎Technomic Inc.
Global food/beverage industry trendwatcher, consultant, & connoisseur. Senior Principal at . Named 1 of top  experts to follow in 2017.
@davidhenkes - Website

David Scott Peters 

The Restaurant Expert
I own a coaching company teaching independent restaurant owners how to use systems to be successful and profitable. We offer coaching, workshops and software.
@RestaurantXpert - Website

Devra First 

Food Writer, Boston Globe 
Boston Globe food writer and restaurant critic. Come for the rabbis, stay for the food.
@devrafirst - Website

Donald Burns 

 The Restaurant Coach™
The Restaurant Coach™, industry expert at  and Toast. Former USAF Pararescue. My motto: All business problems are really people problems in disguise.
@donaldburns - Website

Eric Cacciatore 

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

Gerry Ludwig 

Chef, Gordon Food Service
Representing Gordon Food Service through culinary research and development, restaurant trend tracking, food writing and public speaking.
@GFSChefGerry - Website

Gordon Ramsay 

Celebrity Chef, Restaurateur, and Television Personality 
Check out an awfully British experience in the heart of London York and Albany this festive season.
@GordonRamsay - Website

Graham Elliot 

Chef, Restaurateur, Cookbook Author, TV Personality
@grahamelliot - Website

Heather Lalley

Editor, Restaurant Business Magazine
Editor at Restaurant Business Magazine, new restaurant concepts. Medill + Washburne Culinary grad. Previously at Spokesman Review.
@flourgrrrl - Website

hudson riehle
Hudson Riehle 

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

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Author and Chief Culinary Advisor, Serious Eats
Stay-at-Home Dad. Author of The Food Lab. Serious Eats (NYC), Wursthall, and Backhaus (both San Mateo). Husband to Adriana. Feminist.
@kenjilopezalt - Website

Jaime Oikle

Owner, Restaurant Report and  - Helping Restaurants Succeed and Profit
@JaimeOikle - Website

Jamie Oliver

Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur 
The latest from Jamie Oliver HQ.
@jamieoliver Website

Jean Lee 

Restaurant Social Media & Events Consultant
Restaurant PR + Social Media + Events | Food + Drink + Travel | NYC Native
@jeaniusNYC - Website

Jenna Broughton 

Freelance Food and Restaurant Writer
Made in Florida. Former American Idol auditionee. Onetime sweepstakes winner. Freelance writer covering impact of tech & policy on food & agriculture.
@JennaBroughton - Website

Jenna Telesca 

Editor-in-Chief, Nation's Restaurant News
Editor-in-Chief of Nation's Restaurant News. News tips? [email protected]
@JennaTelesca -  Website

Jim Sullivan

CEO and Founder,
All about restaurant & retail Leadership Strategy at  Author: Multiunit Leadership & The Fundamentals. Speaker, Writer, Omnivore, Dad, Lad, Grad.
@Sullivision - Website

jonathan maze
Jonathan Maze

Executive Editor, Restaurant Business Magazine
Executive Editor with Restaurant Business Magazine. Egghead. Married up to Haila Maze. Opinions pre-approved by a blue ribbon panel of experts.
@jonathanmaze - Website

Jonathan Waxman

Restaurateur and Chef
Chef and owner of Barbuto & Jams NYC, Adele's Nashville and Brezza Cucina Atlanta
@chefjwaxman Website

José Andrés 

Author and James Beard Award–Winning Chef
When they go low, we go high...
@chefjoseandres - Website

Julie Jargon 

Restaurant Reporter, Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal restaurant reporter, mom of three. LA via Chicago via Denver. Hiking, running, West Coast rap.
@juliejargon - Website

ken burgin
Ken Burgin 

Founder, Profitable Hospitality 
Helping restaurants, cafes, clubs & hotels to be more profitable - marketing, management, cost-control, training, staff. Plus the Profitable Hospitality podcast.
@KenBurgin - Website

Keith Nunes 

Executive Editor, Food Business News
Food, like most things, is best when left to its own simple beauty.
@FoodBizNews - Website

Liz Grossman 

Managing Editor, Plate Magazine
Managing Editor of PlateMagazine, co-founder of Between Bites and Instagram curator of nail and food art.
@elizabites - Website

Marcus Guiliano 

Chef and Restaurateur 
Food Activist, Professional Speaker, Eco-Lectic Restaurateur, Restaurant Consultant, Health Nut, Ultra-Marathoner, Raw Food Lover, Craft Beer & Wine Snob.
@1ChefonaMission - Website

Michelle Williams

New York Food Blogger
The voice of Coffee And Champagne. I explore and create food and share my faves so you know what to eat next
@coffeeandchamps - Website

Paul Barron 

CEO, Foodable
CEO, editor in chief, Exec Producer of Foodable, the largest digital network in food. Founder FastCasual, Author of The Chipotle Effect
@paulbarron -

Peter Romeo 

Editor, Restaurant Business Online
Editor at Large for and . Covering the restaurant industry since 1984
@PeterRomeo - Website

ron ruggless
Ron Ruggless 

Senior Editor, Nation's Restaurant News 
Senior editor at Nation's Restaurant News | Roughly 60% water (results may vary)
@RonRuggless - Website

Sarah Whitten 

Food & Restaurant Journalist, CNBC 
Journalist at CNBC covering food, restaurants, consumer products, toys and entertainment | cat lady, gif linguist & nerd.
@sarahwhit10 - Website

Tiffany Lopinsky 

Boston Food Blogger
A Bostonian documenting my eats in the city!
@Boston_Foodies - Website

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 the contenders next year! Who did you think were the most influential restaurant experts? Who would you add to the list? Leave a comment below! 

Related Restaurant Resources

Is this article helpful?

DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.

Xw D8q TOI
AJ Beltis

AJ managed Toast's content library after working various jobs in the industry.