The wonderful thing about chefs, and there are many, is that cooking is rarely ever just about making food. Rather it's the process, both in technique and in thought, of how something delicious is created.
When we landed on our final five Next Hot Chefs for 2019, editor in chief Allecia Vermillion and myself—with a major nudge from our art director Jane Sherman—wanted to know what these masterminds made in a week. So we asked. And, wow, they delivered. —Rosin Saez
Justin Legaspi of Bateau
"The beef carpaccio [is] more of the style I have been able to adopt while working at Bateau since they are more technique driven...while the lumpia (Filipino egg roll), [is] the type of dish that represents who I really am as a chef."
Liz Kenyon of Manolin and Rupee Bar
Liz Kenyon sent us photos of new-to-the-menu dishes like vibrantly green pozole and some of the prettiest potatoes. As a bonus, she said, "I did sneak in a picture of a Rupee dish, a pig breakdown, and me in my natural habitat: outside!" (We love a cooking-alfresco moment.)
Aaron Means of Zig Zag Cafe, Previously of Damn the Weather
"I just put together this week for the Zig Zag menu changeover," Aaron Means wrote. And, yes, he is a professional chef, but by put together he's referring to the eight solid dishes new to the storied Pike Place Market bar: Beyond the asparagus and strawberry dessert, there's a grilled octopus with chickpeas, English pea tartine, parpardelle pasta with morels and fiddleheads, and époisses de Bourgogne fondue with rhubarb jam.
Ethan Leung of Ben Paris
On kare kare, a stew often made with oxtail, pork hocks, and myriad meat parts: "This is one of my all time favorite Filipino foods. It's traditionally served with bagoong, a fermented shrimp condiment. I had to call my mom for advice on how to prepare it!" But Leung has fun with sweet as well as savory: "When I worked at Hitchcock in 2018, there was no pastry program so all the desserts fell onto the pantry station—I had to quickly learn how to make desserts! To me, [panna cotta] is a good example of taking a common dessert idea and adding a couple of components with different textures and flavors to make it exciting (by the way, the aroma of toasted and ground coriander is very similar to Froot Loops, in my opinion)."
Sydney Clark of Poppy (Find out what's next for the restaurant.)
"It was our first night with corn this season, so we took advantage of the tandoori oven for family meal. Chicken skewers in a yogurt sumac marinade, tandoori corn with Aleppo. Sour chicken with the sweet corn, perfectly charred....The main dish for the non-vegetarian thali (spring menu) is doubanjiang-braised Salmon Creek pork with Korean chile sauce and cucumber salad, sesame, and Thai basil."
Peep a full week's worth of food pics—and of course what else make these talented chefs tick—in our August print issue.