What's happening in the upper echelons of the food world?
April 17, 2013 2:50 PM   Subscribe

Help me discover the leading edge restaurants both in the US and internationally that are doing the most exciting things with regard to food, sourcing, plating and presentation as well as highly creative menu development. I am specifically interested in photo-rich sites so I can see, up close and personal, what constitutes the avant-garde in the professional food world at this time.

Color, fusion, small plates, farm-to-table, table-to-farm, locavore, locally-sourced, sustainable. I'm familiar with some of the buzzwords in todays foodie world but feel free to add to the list! I would love to see photos; especially photo-rich aggregate sites, that display pictures of the best-of-the best in today's professional food world. Links directly to restaurant sites okay too. Pictures preferred over intellectualizing but an analysis of what's happening would be interesting too.

What sparked my interest recently was some of the food 'Bar Agricole' is doing in San Francisco. I realize that East Coast, West Coast and other areas all have a slightly different look. I would like to see examples from all areas in the US, as well as in Europe, Japan and elsewhere.
posted by Muirwylde to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The dessert 'plating' at Alinea was posted to the blue recently. The videos are worth a watch.
posted by carsonb at 3:13 PM on April 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The restaurant that comes first to my mind is Noma (website, Wikipedia), in Denmark, which has pretty much taken over from (now closed) El Bulli as "Best Restaurant in the World". Noma's chef, René Redzepi, is doing some really interesting things with food and is worth reading about if you aren't already familiar with him.

David Chang of Momofuku fame is extremely influential lately. There's a PBS series, "The Mind of a Chef," that features Chang primarily but also other leading chefs, and I think it's a great survey of the food world.

Another fantastic series is Eric Ripert's (of NYC's legendary Le Bernardin) "Avec Eric", which I believe can be watched online at that website. Each episode has a theme ("Artisanal," "Cultivating Taste") and has Ripert visiting chefs, farmers, etc., illustrating the episode's theme in his own restaurant, and then cooking a dish at home. It's quite entertaining if you're into food, and his recipes are actually extremely home-cook-friendly.

I would also highly recommend (if you're not already reading it) Lucky Peach, a food magazine created by David Chang and published by McSweeney's, that is doing some of the most interesting, non-stuffy, creative food writing out there right now.

I'll also mention the Spanish chef José Andrés because his minibar concept -- three chefs serving 30-35 course tasting menus to six guests at a time, four seatings a night -- is fascinating and I'd love the opportunity to dine there someday.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:23 PM on April 17, 2013 [6 favorites]

Best answer: This is related to pastry, but this slideshow will give you a good overview of what's hot in desserts across the country with regards to ingredients and plating. It's from a year ago, but the "well orchestrated mess" style, with a bit of "soil" here and a tweezed, foraged flower over there, is still the way to plate. You might also want to try and get your hands on some issues of Art Culinaire.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 3:27 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, and for pure, high-octane food porn, if you haven't bookmarked Tastespotting or Foodgawker yet, please do so immediately.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:28 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also, Star Chefs is always posting photos, particularly the editor on Twitter. In fact, following chefs or travel writers like Anthony Bourdain on Twitter is a good way to see photos of dishes at the top restaurants.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 3:31 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You will probably want to follow the photography & travels of Ulterior Epicure (Flickr, Twitter) and A Life Worth Eating (Flickr, Twitter).

For example: recent meals at Mugartiz, Noma, and Alinea from Ulterior Epicure.

Recent meals at Next, Alder, 41 Degrees, Tickets, and Sukiyabashi Jiro from A Life Worth Eating.
posted by kathryn at 3:33 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You should also go to Tabelog, look up the top ranked Kaiseki places in Japan - especially Kyo Ryori places and look at the pics there. That will make you bleeding edge in the west really.

Also while Noma is "the hotness" I think from a plating and presentation perspective there are way more Mugaritz wannabes.

If you want up and comers a few ideas - look at the Eat It Raw events, but look for chefs you have not yet heard of. Same thing with the hipster french foodie crowd.

Also check out the Flemish guys - that's sort of the "Indie band just breaking" crowd.
posted by JPD at 5:22 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also no longer "the new hotness" but check out Michel Bras and Mark Veyrat. Pierre Gagnaire as well.
posted by JPD at 5:25 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Miya's Sushi is pretty well known for the stuff Bun is doing around invasive species, local sourcing and sustainability, along with groundbreaking ideas on what "sushi" is. They've been ending up on a lot of international hot lists lately.
posted by teishu at 7:23 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Thomas Keller empire has its own magazine: Finesse (Google Play link)

Next produces little videos for each of their seasonal menus.

Some of Michael Laiskonis' "Workbook" can still be found by trawling the Internet Archive. Maybe all of it. I didn't look for very long. If not, it must be archived somewhere else.
posted by stuart_s at 7:56 PM on April 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow. Sweet sweet synopsis. Each and every post. Thank you so much.
posted by Muirwylde at 11:06 PM on April 17, 2013

William Brinson's food photo website. (Caveat: I am William's friend).
posted by lalochezia at 1:20 PM on April 18, 2013

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