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6 Chefs That Are Revolutionising The Industry And What You Can Learn From Them

May 13 2019 - 11:13am
Carving out your niche in a highly competitive industry such as the culinary profession can be challenging, and often, career fulfilment goes way beyond achieving technical aptitude. Passion and perseverance inevitably drive success. We’ve discovered six highly motivated chefs that have translated their life philosophies into what they create in the kitchen to great acclaim. This is because issues of sustainability, ethical farming and production methods are increasingly coming to the forefront of consumer concerns, and those who answer the call are receiving fantastic support for their efforts. While some of the chefs we discuss focus on environmental issues, others are breaking boundaries by challenging accepted norms in the industry and finding new and exciting ways to create, present and serve food.

1. Arnaud Donckele: Taste of tradition

A Michelin star chef, Arnaud Donckele can currently be found in St Tropez’s La Vogue d'Or restaurant. The 41-year-old heads up a team of 33 cooks, delivering a sensory experience of the flavours of Provance to diners at the establishment. This masterful alchemist was ranked in first place in a 2019s edition of “The 100 Chefs”.

His unique menu celebrates the traditional cuisine of Provance by allowing the natural ingredients of the area to infuse each dish that he and the team create. In true French Riviera style, the recipes from Donckele’s kitchen are all about the passion, emotion and the sunny climate of the area. Donckele celebrates the connection between the land, the producers and the authenticity of each ingredient, making sure that only the best quality local produce is used in his creations.

As current top world chef, Arnaud sets an excellent example of culinary values: authenticity, acknowledgement and respect for tradition, and pure, passionate cooking.

2. Flynn McGarry: Age doesn’t matter

At 19, most of us are still slightly – if not very – unsure about what we should be doing with our lives. Not Flynn McGarry, however. This young New York-based chef has had it all figured out since the age of 11, staging at renowned restaurants such as Alinea and Eleven Madison Square where he received real hands-on training. But he’s keen to move away from the sensationalist title of “Teen Chef” and is using his recently opened fine dining restaurant, Gem, as the platform for his innovative 12-15 course menu.

He began teaching himself how to cook from Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook and through watching YouTube videos. With the support of his parents and plenty of determination, McGarry continues to defy his critics and create high quality modern American cuisine.

3. Dan Barber: Sustainability

Dan Barber’s Michelin star restaurant, Blue Hill, is a pioneering establishment in the farm-to-table movement. A prominent voice on sustainability within the culinary world, Barber takes many initiatives to reduce waste and advocate for better ingredients and farming methods.

Dan’s philosophies are based around seasonal, flavourful produce that originates from responsible farms. He served on Barack Obama’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and is the author of The Third Plate, a critically acclaimed book which reimagines a brighter, healthier future for food production and consumption.

4. Erik Sun: Teach a man to fish

Eric Sun is all about conscious consumption. This pioneering restaurateur and adventurer hunts and spears his own fish. His philosophy encompasses the idea that sourcing and handling your own food creates a deeper connection and appreciation for what we consume.

The fish and meat served in Sun’s restaurants are humanely and freshly captured in a respectful manner to the animal. This method of capturing and serving food connects the perennial and the modern, to create a deeper understanding of ethical food sourcing.

Sun states his big concern as the waste produced by inconsequential animal farming or hunting where the animal is not entirely consumed or in some cases, not consumed at all. He also makes the critical connection between how the food is prepared and ultimately presented to the diner as an interlinked experience.

5. Damien Wager: Self-starter pastry chef

Damien Wager is a testament to what hard work and a drive for self-improvement and learning can do for your career as a chef. The former student PE teacher discovered his love for pastry making while at college and began to work his way through the brigade system at various high-end establishments around the UK.

The ambitious young chef has now launched his own company, Edible Art Patisserie Limited and will be opening his own on-campus patisserie at Cheshire College in early 2019.

6. Peggy Chan: Vegetarian vision

A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Ottawa, Peggy Chan is all about mindful plant-based cooking. The Hong Kong-born and based chef is revolutionising food philosophy in her native country.

This dynamic female entrepreneur is the Founder, Executive Chef and Managing Director of Grassroots Pantry, a restaurant and platform space which she uses to promote her strong support for ethical and sustainable farming, organic, plant-based produce and other food-related NGOs.

Peggy has received wide recognition for her efforts to bring sustainability back to the table and was appointed into the Global Shapers Hong Kong hub in 2013. She also won the “Top Food Hero” award at the Foodie Forks Awards in 2016 and has been listed as one of the 20 under 40 in Prestige Hong Kong 2017.

If you have been inspired to find your own voice and become a culinary thought leader, click here to read our top tips to find out how you can achieve this, whatever level of notoriety you’re after.

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