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Restaurant Industry Experts to Follow in 2024

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Tessa ZuluagaAuthor

Life happens fast in the restaurant industry.

Ingredients, dishes, drinks, and even entire concepts can rise and fall in popularity all within the course of one night's meal service. As a restaurant owner or operator, it's imperative – but time-consuming – to stay on top of what's in, what's out, and then tailor your guest's experience accordingly.

Thanks to social media, it is as easy as the click of a button to follow trends and the restaurant industry experts who keep a close eye on them.

At the beginning of each season, take stock of your inbox and your social feeds and evaluate who you're following and why. As the saying goes, "you are what you read."

With that, we bring you Toast's definitive list of restaurant industry experts to follow in 2024.

How we created the 2024 restaurant industry experts to follow list

This list features individuals – not brands or companies – in the restaurant industry. To be included on this list, candidates must be:

  • A chef or restaurant owner

  • A restaurant chain professional

  • A restaurant consultant

  • A food and beverage TV personality

  • A member of the media, with a focus on the food and beverage industry

  • A food and beverage C-suite member

  • A thought leader in the food and/or restaurant industry

They also need to have cultivated a strong following on social media and demonstrated that they consistently create and share high-quality restaurant-related content across their digital channels.

Restaurant experts to follow in 2024: a comprehensive list

We've included the social media accounts and corresponding personal or professional websites for each restaurant industry expert. That way, you can quickly and easily follow them to learn more about their work and the ways they're shaping the industry. This list is in no particular order, as all of these experts have proved themselves to be worthy of recognition!

Mehreen Karim

Starting off strong, we have Mehreen Karim! Mahreen is a Brooklyn-based pop-up chef, recipe developer, and food writer. Her resume is stacked as she used to manage digital recipe building, authored cooking stories, and developed recipes for Bon Appétit. Today, you can find Mehreen developing new recipes, taking impromptu cake orders, and planning her pop-ups in Brooklyn. We highly recommend following her if you want to shake up your daily meals with fun twists such as a tea bag in your morning oatmeal

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Sophia Roe

Next up is Sophia Roe, a food icon. Sophia is a James Beard Award-winning chef, writer, founder of Apartment Miso, and Emmy-Award-nominated TV host. However, what truly makes Sophia stand out in the industry is her distinct lens on honesty, diversity, and inclusivity. The foundation of her work is in celebrating the art of cooking while simultaneously building more sustainable and equitable systems and combating industry whitewashing. Sophia is a busy woman, and we recommend you keep up with her life, food inspo, and more online. 

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Dan Pelosi

Ever heard of GrossyPelosi? Dan Pelosi is the Italian meatball-making-meatballs behind GrossyPelosi, the popular Instagram favorite for all things comfort and food. Dan’s first cookbook, Let’s Eat, is a New York Times Best Seller! He hosts The Secret Sauce for Food52 and appears regularly on Good Morning America. He splits his time between Brooklyn, NY, and Upstate New York, but you can always find him on social media:

Rachel Miller

Rachel Miller is the chef and owner of Nightshade Noodle Bar, Sin City Superette, and Nightshade Clam Shack. Both Chef Rachel Miller and Nightshade Noodle Bar have gained much praise, including the second-ever 5 star review in the Boston Globe. Rachel was also a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef Award in 2023. 

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Tim Brady

Tim Brady is an expert in the brewery and craft beer space, who currently holds the position as Co-founder and Strategist at Whetstone Beer Co.. Tim and Amy Brady opened their first taproom in Brattleboro in 2006. Then in 2011 they  took a chance on a huge expansion project, building out a beautiful location on the banks of the Connecticut River. Today, that small craft beer bar has grown into Whetstone Beer Co. If you’re looking for an expert in the beer industry- Tim is your guy. 

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Kwame Onwuachi

Kwame Onwuachi is a James Beard Award-winning chef, and author of the critically acclaimed cookbook “My America” and memoir “Notes from a Young Black Chef”, which is being turned into a feature film by A24. Kwame has been named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs, Esquire Magazine’s 2019 Chef of the Year, and is a 30 Under 30 honoree by both Zagat and Forbes. 

His restaurant concept Tatiana, opened at the Lincoln Center in November 2022. Since its opening, it has had numerous top accolades. Kwame's big sister, Tatiana looked after him while their mother worked as a chef in New York City. She serves as the inspiration for this restaurant, and will forever hold a special place in Kwame's heart. 

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Joe Sasto

Joe Sasto is an American chef and television figure. He’s worked in kitchens all over California and mentored under some of the Bay Area’s most acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs. Early in his career, Joe found it difficult to get a foot in the door in the culinary industry after forgoing the traditional path of culinary school. Instead, he spent his undergraduate years at University of California at Davis, largely sustained by cooking gigs and a driving passion for food.

Joe worked as an integral member of the teams at both Quince and Lazy Bear. He impacted the rise from one to three, and one to two Michelin stars, respectively. Today, he can be found sharpening his winning skills on competition shows such as The Food Network’s “Chopped." Joe finished in the top 3 of Bravo's "Top Chef - Season 15" and was invited back to compete on “Top Chef Season 17 - All Stars. He also has a line of "Sasto Tools" (kitchen tools) at DogHouse Forge LLC. But wait! There's more! You can also check out his snack creation of puffed pasta chips, Tantos!

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Gregory Gourdet

Gregory Gourdet is a celebrated chef, best-selling author, and television personality.  He is best known for his award-winning cuisine, bevy of TV appearances, and trendsetting role in the culinary boom of Portland. Gregory is the Chef and Founder at Kann and Sousòl. He is a 2022 James Beard Foundation Award Winner for Best General Cookbook- Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health. Gregory is also a 2023 James Beard Foundation Award Winner for Best New Restaurant for Kann Restaurant. 

Gregory recently released his list for dining in American right now, and guess which restaurant was featured? Tatiana by  Kwame Onwuachi, as we raved about above. We love to see it!

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Abi Balingit

Abi Balingit is a Filipino American home baker and author based in Brooklyn. Her new cookbook, MAYUMU: Filipino American Desserts Remixed is available now! Abi’s love  for Filipino food, especially desserts inspired this cookbook. Writing Mayumu gave her  the opportunity to document not just recipes, but her own experiences growing up Filipino American. She also runs  a baking blog called The Dusky Kitchen. If you’re looking for baking inspiration, tips, or a really great funfetti cookie recipe, Abi’s your girl! 

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Masa Takayama

Chef Masa Takayama’s relationship with food has always been a way of life. He is the chef and owner of Masa and Bar Masa, and is the chef at Kappo Masa. Chef Masa apprenticed under the direction of sushi master, Sugiyama Toshiaki, at Tokyo’s well-respected Ginza Sushi-ko. The intense training proved invaluable, inspiring his intimate relationship with food and dining as an all-inclusive experience.

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Aaron Allen

Aaron Allen is the CEO of Aaron Allen and Associates, a global strategy firm focused exclusively on the foodservice and hospitality industry. In his own words, Aaron says, “[He] feels deeply privileged to roll up [his] sleeves and work alongside senior executives for some of the most accomplished foodservice and hospitality companies in the world; aimed at solving some of the most complex challenges and aspirational goals that can be embarked on together.” He has worked with a wide range of brands from all around the world on everything from growth and expansion to performance optimization.

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Missy Robbins

Celebrated chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Missy Robbins is known for her exemplary Italian cuisine. She is the chef and owner at Lilia Ristorante and Misi, and the co-founder of Grovehouse Hospitality Service. Both Misi and Lilia are distinguished restaurants within the Williamsburg community. In 2018, she was recognized nationally by the James Beard Foundation as Best Chef: New York City.

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Erick Williams

Erick Williams is the founder of Virtue Hospitality Group which includes Virtue Restaurant and Bar, Mustard Seed Kitchen, Daisy’s Po-Boy and Tavern, and Top This Mac and Cheese. Williams and Virtue have been featured in a host of local and national media and in 2022 he was named Best Chef: Great Lakes by the James Beard Foundation making history as the first Black chef to win in this category. Some of the services Erick provides today include strategic partnerships, speaking engagements, and food service management.

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Rohini Dey

Rohini Dey, Ph.D is a leading restaurateur, a proponent of Indian cuisine with her unique Latin twist, and an avid supporter of women. She’s also a former World Bank economist and McKinsey and Co. management consultant and she constantly straddles the worlds of business and philanthropy across the US and India. As an Entrepreneur, Dey combined her business credentials with her passion for food by establishing Vermilion in both Chicago and Manhattan.

As a Women’s Activist, Rohini founded Let’s Talk Womxn in July 2020, a collaboration of women restaurateurs to build scale together. Let’s Talk has grown to over 350 women restaurateurs collaborating across 12-14 cities within ten months. She has been included in the NRN Top 50 Power List in 2021, Timeout Women of the Year 2021, and featured on The Today Show and Good Morning America for launching and leading Let’s Talk. She continues to inspire women and all restaurateurs in the industry with her business and restaurant knowledge – a combination that few have.

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José Andrés

José Andrés immigrated to the United States in 1991, first to New York City and later to Washington, D.C., where he and his partners established a group of restaurants that have earned countless fans and won numerous awards over the years. With over 30 restaurant concepts worldwide, José Andrés Restaurants offer culinary experiences that span from food trucks to world-class tasting menus, including the two Michelin-starred minibars by José. Today this group specializes in restaurant consulting, and can help your business succeed.

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David Henkes

David Henkes is a well-known commentator on the food and beverage industry and has appeared on regularly on Bloomberg TV, Thompson Reuters, CNBC,Fox Business, MSNBC, CBS, NPR, ABC and First Business, among others. He’s currently a Senior Principal at Technomic, a company that uses cloud-based B2B research tools, consumer and menu trend tracking, and more to help clients prioritize business opportunities to help them grow. David is also a member of the editorial advertising boards of Hotel FandB Magazine and is an advisory board member of the Nightclub and Bar trade show.

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Eric Cacciatore

Eric Cacciatore has spent most of his life diving into what makes restaurants tick. His passion for the industry started with his family, the owners of Joe’s Depot Diner. Today he runs a podcast called the Restaurant Unstoppable. This platform is where Eric explores his passion for the restaurant industry, learns from the best, and shares those invaluable insights with the world. It's more than a podcast; it's a mission to inspire and empower every restaurant owner out there to achieve fiscal security and happiness.

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David Barber

David Barber is co-owner of Blue Hill – a working farm, restaurant, and consulting company supporting agriculture that positively contributes to the world's food system. The 138-acre farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts has been in the Barber family for four generations. Blue Hill restaurant has locations in Greenwich Village and Pocantico Hills, New York. Barber is a guiding voice in the movement to reform American agrifood economics and has dedicated his career to reinventing finance’s role in the food economy. David continues to engage capital as a tool to serve soil health, biodiversity and ultimately reverse the damage extractive economics have caused the planet.

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Pinky Cole

Ever heard of Slutty Vegan? Pinky Cole is the owner and founder of the ever-successful vegan restaurant chain and an inspirational leader in the industry. Pinky is known for her incredible story that started with several failures and hardships, now here she is with years of experience and loads of success under her belt. You can also find her being hands on at her new bar, Bar Vegan. Make sure to check out her book, I Hope You Fail, where Pinky takes you back to your moments that seemed hopeless to help you discover how filled with possibility they really were.

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Hudson Riehle

Hudson Riehle is the Senior Vice President of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association (NRA). Hudson directs the NRA’s consumer, economic, market, human resources, tourism, and operations research. He also oversees its extensive knowledge center activities. Needless to say, he’s an expert.

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Donald Link

James Beard Award winner Donald Link is the Executive Chef and President of the Link Restaurant Group. He founded the group in 2009 to support the continuous growth of his family of restaurants. Donald’s flagship restaurant Herbsaint earned him a James Beard Award in 2007 for Best Chef: South. That same year, Cochon was nominated for Best New Restaurant. Donald has also been nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the prestigious award of Outstanding Chef for multiple years.

In 2015, Donald and his partner Stephen Stryjewski also created the Link Stryjewski Foundation to address the persistent cycle of violence and poverty, as well as the lack of quality education and job training opportunities available to young people in New Orleans. He continues to inspire professionals in the industry today.

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William Bradley

William Bradley is the Chef and Director at Addison, a California gastronomy restaurant. He offers his distinct culinary perspective through an experience that celebrates regional ingredients and Southern Californian influences. Addison has received 3 Michelin Stars and continues to raise the bar for successful restaurants in the San Diego area.

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Mashama Bailey

Mashama Bailey is the Chef and Co-founder of The Grey. At The Grey, Mashama brings her personal take on Port City Southern food to a city of her youth. She taps into all of her experiences to create dishes that are deep, layered, and soulful in their flavors. With a penchant for regional produce, seafood, and meats, guests will find a melting pot of surprising and comforting tastes in all of Mashama’s cooking with something new revealed in each and every visit. As executive chef of The Grey, Mashama has earned a number of accolades, including the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Southeast award in 2019. She also serves as Vice Chairman on the board of the Edna Lewis Foundation, working to preserve and celebrate Edna’s legacy that has heavily influenced her menu.

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Clark Wolf

Clark Wolf built the Clark Wolf Company, a restaurant consulting firm, in 1986. Some of the company’s offerings include menu development, restaurant operations analysis, business planning, kitchen design, concept development, and more.

Clark has more than 30 years of experience in the food industry and is a member of Linkedin’s Influentials, is a columnist for forbes.com, and has been contributing editor to COOK'S Magazine. He has written a book American Cheeses, for Simon and Schuster, about his long history with American artisan cheesemaking and Co-Edited 101 Classic Cookbooks: 501 Classic Recipes for Rizzoli.

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Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the world’s most famous chefs. However, he is also a savvy businessman and restaurateur. Jean-Georges is responsible for the operation and success of 60 restaurants worldwide. And if you know what it takes to make one restaurant succeed- you know this is wildly impressive.

Jean-Georges has made culinary history and developed a reputation as remarkable as his food by tapping his deep understanding of the restaurant world and pairing it with his forward-thinking vision. Yet, after years of success, Jean-Georges’ favorite retreat is still the kitchen, and his favorite meals dish from a street cart in Thailand.

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Jaime Oikle

Jamie Oikle is the owner of RunningRestaurants.com and has been providing restaurant marketing, operations, and tech tips to help restaurant businesses profit for over 20 years. Simply put, Jamie has a passion for helping restaurant owners succeed and grow their businesses.

RunningRestaurants.com has helped thousands of full-service restaurants attract more customers, increase their revenue, and boost their profits. Jaime’s mission is to empower and inspire restaurant owners to achieve their goals and dreams.

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Doug Roth

Doug Roth founded Playground Hospitality to help clients pull together the thousand details that create a successful concept. Doug has owned and operated profitable restaurants, including Bistro 110, Bistro 100, Blackhawk Lodge, Don Roth Restaurants, and the award-winning Red Moon. As an equity partner and vice president of development with Levy Restaurants, he created multiple nationally recognized restaurant concepts.

As the Playground manager, Doug focuses on developing clear restaurant concepts for his clients, connecting the site selection, interior design, atmosphere, menus, and SOPs to deliver a consistent customer experience. Check out his case studies here.

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Gordon Ramsay

You already know Gordon Ramsay from your favorite shows, Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, and more. However, do you know his actual background and why he’s such an impressive expert? Ramsay went to college to complete a course in hotel management. His dedication and natural talent led him to train with some of the world’s leading chefs. In 1993, Ramsay became head chef of Aubergine in London, and within three years Aubergine was awarded two Michelin stars.

What started in 1998 with Chef Ramsay's first-owned restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, the Gordon Ramsay brand has evolved into restaurants in three continents, six countries, and dozens of cities. The Michelin-starred Chef brings a restaurant experience for every taste and budget. From a fast-casual atmosphere with a fun flare to upscale fine dining, no matter the Ramsay experience you choose, you won’t forget it.

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Justin Bartek

Justin Bartek is the Vice President of Marketing at Dog Haus, a hot dog and sausage chain known for its delicious offerings and its 100% genetically tested, humanely raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free Black Angus beef from Creekstone Farms. Dog Haus isn’t fast food or fast casual: it’s Craft Casual, a category this team created that’s catching on across the industry.

If you’re in the fast-casual or quick-service space, consider following Justin Bartek to see how he’s shaping the industry and crafting unique offerings.

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Jaime Oliver

Jaime Oliver is an English celebrity chef, cookbook author, and current food blogger. He has plenty of experience as a restaurateur and owns the Jaime Oliver Group. The Jaime Oliver Group is a commercial business with social purpose at its heart. The goal of this group is to create a healthier, happier world through the joy of cooking.

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Shawn Walchef

If you’ve ever watched Toast’s Family Style show, then you’re familiar with Shawn Walchef. Shawn is the owner of Cali BBQ, a podcast host at Cali BBQ Media, and a Content Creator here at Toast! Shawn helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Digital Storytelling and Digital Hospitality. His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond. Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

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Aarón Sánchez

Aarón Sánchez is an award-winning chef, TV personality, author and philanthropist. You might recognize him as a judge on FOX’s culinary competition series MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. Aarón is also the founder of the Aarón Sánchez Impact Fund, a nonprofit program whose mission is to uplift the lives of Latino youth through food.

As a third-generation cookbook author, Aarón has written two cookbooks – La Comida del Barrio and Simple Food, Big Flavor and a memoir, Where I Come From: Life Lessons From A Latino Chef. He also co-hosts a podcast, Cooking in Mexican from A to Z, on Heritage Radio Network with his mom, Zarela Martinez.

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Bradley Toft

Bradley Toft is a restaurant specialist who shares the same passion for restaurants as the business owners he helps. Bradley’s specialty is restaurant insurance. If you’re looking for insurance for your restaurant start-up, Bradley is your guy.

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Christina Tosi

If you love Milk Bar as much as I do, you must read about the creative genius behind it! Christina Tosi is a James Beard award-winning pastry chef. Recently profiled on Netflix’s docu-series Chef’s Table, Tosi is known for combining her formal culinary training and her informal obsession with home baking, grocery store staples, and classic American sweets, with menu items like the Compost Cookie®, layer cakes with unfrosted sides, Cereal Milk™ Soft Serve, Milk Bar Pie and more.

If you’re passionate about baking, we highly recommend following Christina and checking out her East Village NYC Milk Bar location (or any of her locations) – it doesn’t miss.

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R.J. Melman

R.J. Melman is the President of Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants. In the words of his father, “Lettuce Entertain You started because of ideas. We are a school for entrepreneurs and it’s our culture of caring that bonds us: Caring about the food, the service, our people, and our guests”. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. is the largest privately held restaurant group in the United States and a distinctive leader in hospitality. Lettuce currently owns, licenses, or manages 115 establishments nationally. R.J. took over the family business in 2017 and has been thriving ever since.

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Bobby Stuckey

Bobby Stuckey is the Co-Founder of Frasca Food and Wine, Pizzeria ALBERICO, Scarpetta Wine Company, Tavernetta Denver, and Sunday Vinyl. He began his career in Arizona restaurants, working his way from dishwasher to management, establishing his position as one of the leaders in the hospitality industry. Since then Bobby has led his team at The French Laundry in Yountville, California to earn the James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Wine Service award and San Francisco Magazine recognized him as "Wine Director of the Year.”  The French Laundry received the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurant Service in 2003. Since then he has won many noteworthy awards at different establishments. Today he focuses on Frasca Food and Wine, his Michelin-starred and James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurant, and Sunday Vinyl, a European wine bar and restaurant.

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Thomas Keller

Chef Thomas Keller is renowned for his extraordinary culinary skills. He has established a collection of incredible restaurants including The French Laundry, in Napa Valley, and Per Se, in New York, among others. He is the first and only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the Michelin Guide, as well as the first American male chef to be designated a Chevalier of The French Legion of Honor.

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Alice Elliot

Alice Elliot is the founder and CEO of The Elliot Group, a premier human capital firm. Alice is an expert in the restaurant, hospitality, retail, lifestyle, and service industries. Alice was named Nation’s Restaurant News’ “2019 Norman Award” winner and is the recipient of The Culinary Institute of America’s 2020 “Augie Award.” Alice has been highlighted in the 2015 and 2019 Nation’s Restaurant News’ “The Power List”, QSR Magazine’s “20 Most Influential Restaurant Leaders” and Eater’s “Meet the Underground Power Brokers of NYC Dining: Restaurant Consultants”.

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Daniel Boulud

Chef Daniel Boulud is widely celebrated as one of America’s leading culinary authorities. Since arriving in New York City in 1982, he has continually evolved his cuisine and expanded his reach across the U.S., as well as Toronto, Montreal, Dubai, Singapore, and The Bahamas.

His culinary empire has brought him many accolades, yet his inspiration remains grounded in the rhythm of the seasons. From his flagship, DANIEL, to his properties across the globe, Boulud’s signature remains the contemporary appeal he brings to soulful dishes rooted in the French tradition.

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Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn is the chef and owner of both Bar Creen and the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, where artistry is at the forefront, cuisine is a craft, and the community is an inspiration. Her highly distinctive French heritage and imaginative gastronomic lair behind the stove at Atelier Crenn is a clear reflection of her unique life story. 

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Grant Achatz

Grant Achatz is an American chef and restaurateur often recognized for his contributions to molecular gastronomy. He is the chef and owner of the Alinea Group in Chicago. Something remarkable about Grant is that, in 2007, he lost his sense of taste for a few years. He was diagnosed with stage 4 tongue cancer. He was treated with chemotherapy, and the radiation burned his tongue, completely destroying his taste buds. Naturally, this was devastating for a chef. Thankfully, Achatz's cancer is now in remission. After his treatment ended, his ability to taste came back — but slowly.

In an interview, he told NPR, "I started from zero, and the first thing back was sweet," he says. "So my palate developed just as a newborn — but I was 32 years old. So I could understand how flavors were coming back and how they synergized together. ... It was very educational for me. I don't recommend it, but I think it made me a better chef because now I really understand how flavor works." Today he continues to amaze the diners of Chicago with his work for the Alinea Group. Follow him below.

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Amy Alarcon

Amy Alarcon is the Vice President of Culinary Innovation at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Over time, Amy learned how to speak up and stand on her own in such a male-dominated industry. Now she works hard to ensure the women on her team, especially the ones beginning their careers, know they don’t have to put up with anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.

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Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert is the Chef and Co-Owner of Le Bernardin. He has been recognized as one of the top chefs in the world. In 1998, the James Beard Foundation named Ripert “Top Chef in New York City” and in 2003, “Outstanding Chef in the United States.” Today, Ripert is the Vice Chairman of the board of City Harvest, working to bring together New York’s top chefs and restaurateurs to raise funds and increase the quality and quantity of food donations to New York’s most in need.

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Michael Breed

Michael Breed is currently the Head of B2B Marketing at Doordash and formerly worked as the SVP of Marketing at Chili’s. He knows a thing or two about restaurant marketing. Michael is a data-driven marketing executive who enjoys building creative solutions to relevant business problems. In his 18-years in hospitality he’s learned the importance of listening to and meeting the needs of the people you serve.

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Josh Kern

Josh Kern is the CEO at SPB Hospitality, the leading operator and franchisor of full-service dining restaurants, spanning a national footprint of hundreds of restaurants and breweries. Josh has been with SPB since 2018 when he started as the CMO, where he oversaw marketing, culinary, beverage, supply chain, and information technology. He is well-versed in the restaurant industry space and continues to lead strong teams.

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Wolfgang Puck

In 1982 Wolfgang opened his first flagship restaurant, Spago. This restaurant earned Wolfgang many accolades, including the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef of the Year in 1991 and 1998, and the James Beard Foundation Award for Restaurant of the Year in 1994. Wolfgang is the only chef to have won the Outstanding Chef of the Year Award multiple times. Wolfgang then opened Chinois on Main in Santa Monica, followed by CUT, a steakhouse that earned a Michelin star within one year.

Today Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining restaurants can be found in Las Vegas, Beverly Hills, Maui, London, New York, Singapore, Budapest, Istanbul, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

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Cat Cora

Cat Cora is a world-renowned chef, author, restaurateur, contributing editor, television host and personality. Cat has cooked at two 3-star Michelin restaurants in France. In 2005, Cat Cora made television history when she became the first-ever female Iron Chef on Food Network’s Iron Chef America. Since then, she’s continued to dominate the historically male culinary industry. After Cat’s Iron Chef debut, she was featured extensively as co-host on BRAVO's "Around the World in 80 Plates" as well as FOX's "My Kitchen Rules.” and ABC’s “Family Food Fight”.

Cat has opened more than 18 restaurants across the United States and globally, highlighting her platform on health, wellness, and sustainability. And to continue her dedication to women in the industry, in 2018, Chef Cat Cora launched her Women’s Empowerment Culinary Internship Program to mentor, give back, and help women succeed in the culinary arts.

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Kenji López-Alt

Kenji López-Alt is the former chef and founding partner at Wursthall in San Mateo, a German-inspired California beer hall and restaurant. Kenji is currently an author who has written several successful books, including the James Beard Award-winning and bestselling cookbooks The Food Lab and The Wok, and the best-selling children’s book, Every Night is Pizza Night. He’s also a New York Times food columnist, and the Chief Culinary Advisor for Serious Eats, home of the most thoroughly-tested and explained recipes and food features.

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Anita Adams

Anita Adams is the Chief Executive Officer of Black Bear Diner. Before this, she served as President and Chief Financial Officer at the Diner for three years. In the six years Anita has been a member of the Black Bear Diner executive team, the company has experienced significant growth, nearly doubling the number of diners to just under 160 locations in thirteen states. Anita was named as one of the 50 most Influential Women in Foodservice by Nation's Restaurant News in 2021 and included on The Power List in March 2022.

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Nick Kokonas

Last, but certainly not least, we have restaurant expert Nick Kokonas. Working alongside Chef Grant Achatz, Nick is the Owner and Founder of the Alinea Group. He’s also the Founder and CEO of Tock, a comprehensive booking system for restaurants. Nick has been an entrepreneur and angel investor since 1996 and spent a decade as a derivatives trader. He has co-written three books, and knows how to apply the lessons learned across all the domains he enters.

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Improve your restaurant operations

There are plenty of new techniques, recipes, and business tactics to learn in the fast-paced restaurant industry. This comprehensive list sheds light on just how vast this sector of business is, and how it will only continue to grow. We hope you found inspiration from one of the many dignified experts, and don’t forget to follow your favorites!

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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.