The 50 Best Restaurant Experts and Chefs to Follow in 2018
By: AJ Beltis
Jun 06, 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.
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
Award-Winning Chef, TV Personality, Cookbook Author, and Philanthropist FOX's MasterChef / Author / Dad / mexiCAN @AaronSanchez - Website
Editor-in-Chief, Drift and Ambrosia @alifewortheating on Instagram/Facebook and @lifewortheating on Snapchat. @LifeWorthEating - Website
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
Food and Restaurant Blogger, Toast Content Marketing Manager at Toast, Journalist, Blogger, Acapella alto, Wheaton College Grad. Entertainment Buff. @aktetreault - Website
Food Writer, James Beard Award Winner NPR Correspondent, PBS NewsHour contributor, mom, aspiring yogi, lavender lover. @AubreyNPRFood-Website
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
Executive Editor, Modern Restaurant Management Executive Editor, Modern Restaurant Management. firstname.lastname@example.org. @bcastiglia44 - Website
The Restaurant Specialist The Restaurant Guy. Husband, Dad, and a work in progress. Risk Specialist at Newman & Tucker Insurance. @BradleyToft - Website
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
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
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
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
Chef, Author, Television Personality, and Owner of Momofoku Milk Bar Hardbody for life. @ChristinaTosi -Website
Host and Creator, The Sporkful Podcast Creator/host of The Sporkful podcast at Stitcher and the Cooking Channelweb series You're Eating It Wrong and The Snackdown. An eater, not a foodie. @TheSporkful -www.danielboulud.com
CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Union Square Hospitality Group. Founder Shake Shack. Always Setting the Table. @dhmeyer - Website
CEO/CO-Founder, That's Biz Helping restaurants, bars, and chains attract new customers and drive repeat visits. @thatsbiz - Website
Advisory Group Senior Principal, Technomic Inc. Global food/beverage industry trendwatcher, consultant, & connoisseur. Senior Principal at Technomic. Named 1 of top restaurant 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
Food Writer, Boston Globe Boston Globe food writer and restaurant critic. Come for the rabbis, stay for the food. @devrafirst - Website
The Restaurant Coach™ The Restaurant Coach™, industry expert at Foodable and Toast. Former USAF Pararescue. My motto: All business problems are really people problems in disguise. @donaldburns -Website
Host, RestaurantUnstoppable Podcast Host, RestaurantUnstoppable Podcast. Successful hospitality professionals telling their stories of success and sharing their mentorship. @EricCacciatore -Website
Chef, Gordon Food Service Representing Gordon Food Service through culinary research and development, restaurant trend tracking, food writing and public speaking. @GFSChefGerry - Website
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
Editor, Restaurant Business Magazine Editor at Restaurant Business Magazine, new restaurant concepts. Medill + Washburne Culinary grad. Previously at Spokesman Review. @flourgrrrl - Website
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
Restaurant Social Media & Events Consultant Restaurant PR + Social Media + Events | Food + Drink + Travel | NYC Native @jeaniusNYC - Website
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
CEO and Founder, Sullivision.com All about restaurant & retail Leadership Strategy at Sullivision.com Author: Multiunit Leadership & The Fundamentals. Speaker, Writer, Omnivore, Dad, Lad, Grad. @Sullivision - Website
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
Restaurateur and Chef Chef and owner of Barbuto & Jams NYC, Adele's Nashville and Brezza Cucina Atlanta @chefjwaxman - Website
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
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
Executive Editor, Food Business News Food, like most things, is best when left to its own simple beauty. @FoodBizNews - Website
Managing Editor, Plate Magazine Managing Editor of PlateMagazine, co-founder of Between Bites and Instagram curator of nail and food art. @elizabites - Website
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
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
James Beard Award Winning Chef and Restaurateur, Television Personality Chef/Owner-Blue Dragon, Exec Producer/Host-Simply Ming and President-National Advisory Board Family Reach. Food is simple, make it tasty! (Ming was also a guest on Toast's Podcast, The Garnish! Listen here.) @mingtsai - Website
CEO, Foodable CEO, editor in chief, Exec Producer of Foodable, the largest digital network in food. Founder FastCasual, Author of The Chipotle Effect @paulbarron - www.rickbayless.com
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!
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