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15 Most Followed Chefs on Twitter Slideshow

15 Most Followed Chefs on Twitter Slideshow

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#15 Rocco DiSpirito: 216,065 Followers

Rocco's Twitter account features 8,279 tweets, follows 1,503 accounts, and boasts 216,065 followers.

Handle: @roccodispirito

Followers as of March, 2011: 100,082

#14 Rick Bayless: 229,763 Followers

Chef Rick Bayless may only follow 147 other accounts, but he has a very impressive 229,763 followers. Even more impressive? The 8,440 tweets to his credit, which is the second-highest number of any chef on this list.

Handle: @Rick_Bayless

Followers as of March, 2011: 124,321

#13 Mario Batali: 259,854 Followers

Culinary superstar Mario Batali is clearly on top of things as far as social media is concerned. His account registers 6,093 tweets, he follows only 298 other Twitter members, and he has a notable 259,851 followers.

Handle: @Mariobatali

#12 Tom Colicchio: 279,307 Followers

Chef Tom Colicchio is engaged with 230 other members of the Twitter community, and boasts a respectable 5,650 tweets. His followers total: 279,307.

Handle: @tomcolicchio

Followers as of March, 2011: 125,963

#11 Emeril Lagasse: 328,147 Followers

Bam! Emeril may only follow 427 other accounts, and he has tweeted a relatively tame 2,247 times. Still, he has 328,147 followers.

Handle: @Emeril

Followers as of March, 2011: 138,872

#10 Andrew Zimmern: 349,187 Followers

The host of Bizarre Foods has tweeted 10,268 times (the most on this list), and follows 22,741 other accounts. He boasts a respectable 349,187 followers.

Handle: @andrewzimmern

Followers as of March, 2011: 157,581

#9 Tyler Florence: 371,955 Followers

Tyler Florence's Twitter account follows 1,482 other accounts, registers 5,789 tweets, and has a strong 371,955 followers, putting him in ninth place on this list.

Handle: @TylerFlorence

Followers as of March, 2011: 264,827

#8 Bobby Flay: 505,108 Followers

King of the Food Network, Bobby Flay has more than half a million followers (505,108), but like his colleague Giada, follows a very limited number of accounts (just 71). He boasts 1,533 tweets.

Handle: @bflay

Followers as of March, 2011: 236,428

#7 Giada De Laurentiis: 540,290 Followers

Giada's account features 7,157 tweets, and notes that it follows just 88 other accounts, but registers a very strong 540,290 followers.

Handle: @GDeLaurentiis

Followers as of March, 2011: 251,344

#6 Rachael Ray: 562,953 Followers

Ray-Ray has tweeted 1,262 times, a relatively low number for this list, and she’s not following too many other accounts, either — just 142. Still, she has 562,953 followers.

Handle: @rachael_ray

Followers as of March, 2011: 100,622

#5 Guy Fieri: 572,116 Followers

"Brotha" of the everyman, Guy Fieri only follows about 111 accounts, and has tweeted just 933 times. But that doesn't change the fact that he has a whopping 572,116 followers. Imagine what would happen if this culinary/cultural zeitgeist tweeted just a few more times a day and threw some @'s and RT's in there.

Handle: @GuyFieri

Followers as of March, 2011: 232,255

#4 Paula Deen: 710,518 Followers

Paula Deen has tweeted 2,832 times, her account follows 301 other accounts (an increase of only 11 in the past year, too), and her 710,518 followers puts her in a strong fourth place.

Handle: @Paula_Deen

Followers as of March, 2011: 319,998

#3 Gordon Ramsay: 732,446 Followers

Chef Gordon Ramsay's account notes 3,090 tweets, follows 2,141 other accounts, and boasts 732,466 followers.

Handle: @GordonRamsay01

Followers as of March, 2011: 266,725

#2 Anthony Bourdain: 807,351 Followers

With 5,444 tweets, Anthony Bourdain is not too far behind Jamie Oliver's 7,879 tweets. And certainly, 807,351 followers is nothing to scoff at (especially when he's only following 233 people), putting him in a solid second place by this count.

Handle: @NoReservations

Followers as of March, 2011: 338,482

#1 Jamie Oliver: 2,060,983 Followers

With his 7,879 tweets, Jamie Oliver is one of the most followed chefs in the world. As of this time his account follows 5,039 people on Twitter.

Handle: @jamieoliver

Followers as of March, 2011: 1,058,269

10 Most Followed Food Critics on Twitter

Correction appended

Food critics may prize anonymity when it comes to staying undercover while eating in restaurants, but when it comes to social media they're a lot less shy. No strangers to sharing opinions, these writers are fully equipped to deliver short, pithy commentary in 140 characters or less.

Like many popular chefs, quite a few critics have tried boosting their online profiles. Twitter serves as the perfect medium for communicating with an audience of Yelping, Chow-obsessed food lovers.

But who are the most followed critics on Twitter? For the purposes of this list we looked at active food critics, which includes individuals whose current job includes reviewing restaurants (sorry, Frank Bruni). Think of this as your ultimate guide to industry hotshots.

#10 Robert Sietsema: 5,069 Followers
Robert Sietsema, the critic for The Village Voice, is the tenth most popular food critic on Twitter. He has 5,069 followers and follows 126 people.
Handle: @robertsietsema

#9 Brett Anderson: 5,404 Followers
Restaurant critic for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Brett Anderson has tweeted a total of 1,904 times and follows 652 people.
Handle: @BrettAndersonTP

#8 Corby Kummer: 6,130 Followers
The restaurant critic for Boston Magazine (and senior editor for The Atlantic), Corby Kummer has 6,130 Twitter followers, but follows only 45 people in return.
Handle: @CKummer

#7 Adam Platt: 6,227 Followers
New York Magazine's food critic, Adam Platt, follows 433 people on Twitter (the second highest number of people followed by a critic on this list) and has currently tweeted 1,007 times.
Handle: @plattypants

#6 Jeffrey Steingarten: 7,304 Followers
Whether critiquing chefs as a judge on Iron Chef America or in his Vogue column, Jeffrey Steingarten is not known for being shy about sharing his opinion. Although he only follows nine people on Twitter at last count, he is followed by 7,304 people.
Handle: @jsteingarten

#5 Michael Bauer: 11,382 Followers
Michael Bauer, the food critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, has tweeted 690 times, follows 32 people, and boasts 11,382 followers.
Handle: @michaelbauer1

#4 Tom Sietsema: 12,257 Followers
Washington Post food critic, Tom Sietsema has 12,257 Twitter followers and follows just 85 people.
Handle: @tomsietsema

#3 Jonathan Gold: 18,850 Followers
Resident restaurant reviewer for LA Weekly, Jonathan Gold comes in third on this list. Gold trails both Gael Greene and Sam Sifton with a total of 18,850 followers, and has tweeted 1,699 times to date.
Handle: @thejgold

#2 Sam Sifton: 56,136 Followers
Being the food critic of The New York Times is a pretty high-profile job, which is why it's not surprising that Sam Sifton scored the number two spot on this list with 56,136 followers.
Handle: @SamSifton

#1 Gael Greene: 69,230 Followers
With a whopping 69,230 Twitter followers, this former New York Magazine critic (and current Insatiable Critic) tops this list. Gael Greene currently follows only 100 people on Twitter in return.
Handle: @GaelGreene

- Molly Aronica, The Daily Meal

Correction: As Alison Cook of the Houston Chronicle was kind enough to tweet (@alisoncook), her 6,434 followers at the publication of this correction (May 5, 2011) puts her in play on this list of most followed critics on Twitter. An updated list follows.

#11 Robert Sietsema: 5,339 followers (previously 5,069)
#10 Brett Anderson: 5,688 followers (previously 5,404)
#9 Alison Cook: 6,434 followers
#8 Corby Kummer: 6,525 followers (previously 6,130)
#7 Adam Platt: 6,584 followers (previously 6,227)
#6 Jeffrey Steingarten: 7,677 followers (previously 7,304)
#5 Michael Bauer: 11,855 followers (previously 11,382)
#4 Tom Sietsema: 12,828 followers (previously 12,257)
#3 Jonathan Gold: 19,557 followers (previously 18,850)
#2 Sam Sifton: 60,027 followers (previously 56,136)
#1 Gael Greene: 72,237 followers (previously 69,230)

18 Chefs to Follow on Instagram, Ranked

Follow culinary juggernaut Magnus Nillson as he forages and harvests ingredients across stunning Nordic landscapes. Faviken may be an impossible dream destination, but Nillson's grams make you feel one tiny step closer.

Executive chef at Grant Achatz's Chicago restaurant Next, Jenner Tomaska shows off pristine ingredients and plates. Next is an exciting restaurant to follow, with its ever-changing themes, and Tomaska's photos reflect its changing styles accordingly.

3. Timothy Hollingsworth

LA-based chef and owner of Otium and Barrel & Ashes, Timothy Hollingsworth has an Instagram that shines with fresh California seafood and picturesque lighting.

Recently named the World's Best Female Chef in San Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants list (and named Eater's Chef of the Year in 2015 in a nicely non-gendered ranking), Dominique Crenn is an unparalleled artist and badass. Follow her for behind-the-scenes looks at Crenn restaurants and occasional celebrity sightings.

Best lunch place in the city :) @petitcrenn

A photo posted by @dominiquecrenn on Apr 13, 2016 at 11:52am PDT

Pastry queen Christina Tosi's Instagram is packed with the excess, decadence, and charm characteristic of Milk Bar. This is where trends are born.

6 layers of a baller #carrotcake bday celebration @milkbarstore .

A video posted by christinatosi (@christinatosi) on May 18, 2016 at 6:07am PDT

Mathew Rice is pastry chef at The Publican in Chicago (he'll soon move to Nashville to head up the pastry program at Pastaria), and his work and photos are rooted in delightful nostalgia. Expect rainbow sprinkles, snickerdoodles, cookie crumbs, and artistry all at once.

Matcha-mint chip ice cream cake.

A photo posted by Mathew Rice (@mathewsweet) on Apr 13, 2016 at 3:25pm PDT

Everything Elisabeth Prueitt, p astry chef and co-owner of San Francisco's beloved Tartine Bakery, makes is beautiful. Just everything.

Chef and owner of Elizabeth in Chicago, Iliana Regan forages for ingredients in Midwestern meadows and forests, and designs cheeky menus with themes like the "Lord of the Rings" or "Chronicles of Narnia." Her work and p hotos beautify the Midwest (impressive, right?), and her plates are gorgeous.

Sometimes at work I make myself a fancy little salad.

A photo posted by Iliana Regan (@elizabethrestaurant_and_co) on May 22, 2016 at 12:16pm sted by George Kovach (@georgekovach) on May 30, 2015 at 12:55pm PDT

This year's recipient of the James Beard Outstanding Chef Award, Suzanne Goin is chef and co-owner of Lucques and more. Her Instagram is French food, seafood, children, dish-crafting, picnics, and personal fitness, and we're all very jealous.

Portland-based chef and owner of Pok Pok, Andy Ricker's 'grams are heavy on the cat posts (and what's the matter with that, really?), but occasional glimpses of Thai food are worth it.

Plaa duuk yang, laap plaa duuk, muu nam tok at Som Tam Jay So! Saep elee

A photo posted by Andy Ricker (@pawkhrua) on May 30, 2016 at 10:27pm PDT

Rene Redzepi, the world's most influential chef and king of Instagram? Redzepi's posts alternate between ingredient porn and plated perfection. For the past few months, his account has been packed with exotic and bizarre ingredients from Australia, where Noma held a 10-week pop-up. Follow along to see what inspiration will shape the upcoming reincarnation of Noma a la urban farm.

King crab from northern Norway is on the menu

A video posted by Rene Redzepi (@reneredzepinoma) on May 13, 2016 at 5:03am PDT

David Chang's Instagram account is a peek into the zany mind of this culinary superstar. His photos and videos are hypnotic, and his captions are punchy and weird — just as we should expect from the creator of the Momofuku brand.

Momofuku ramen. Probably version #163. Better than ever #nsfw

A video posted by Dave Chang (@davidchang) on Mar 29, 2016 at 7:20am PDT

British, NYC-based chef April Bloomfield loves greens and pigs (she's published books called A Girl and Her Greens and A Girl and Her Pig), and her Instagram account reflects just that. Expect bold photos and farm animal cameos.

Sleeping piggies . #threelittlepigs #agirlandherpig

A photo posted by aprilbloomfield (@aprilbloomfield) on Aug 31, 2015 at 8:34am PDT

New Orleans chef John Besh has an entire empire of NOLA restaurants, and each of them shine in his Insta-spotlight. You'll see his home-cooked meals too, a smattering of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Southern stick-to-your-ribs fare. Besh also likes hashtags (#cookfromtheheart, #brunch, #happy).

Named Outstanding Baker at this year's James Beard Awards, Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery creates beautiful pastries that serve only to fill Instagrammers with deep senses of longing. Check out her sticky buns.

Have a Brioche Au Chocolat for breakfast today! #flourbakery

A photo posted by joannebchang (@joannebchang) on May 25, 2016 at 4:32am PDT

Vinny Dotolo, half of the LA-based Jon and Vinny team, shares brightly colored photos of pizza, Italian ices, and pasta — everything one needs from an Insta-account.

new shapes

A photo posted by @animalvinny on Apr 17, 2016 at 11:07am PDT

Dan Barber's Instagram account is mostly scenes of Blue Hill, the farm at the epicenter of America's farm-to-table movement. Each photo is Barber's ode to his ingredients and his mantra, "You are what you eat eats too."

2/3 -- the red-pepper-pecking hens at @bluehillfarm

A photo posted by Dan Barber (@chefdanbarber) on Feb 23, 2016 at 10:47am PST

James Beard Outstanding Chef of 2014 and queen of bread, Nancy Silverton leads a precious life full of sourdough, festivals, and celebrity chef get-togethers. Instagram is for making you feel like she is your friend.

Current Situation. @ Galloni Proscuitto #parma

A photo posted by Nancy Silverton (@nancysilverton) on May 10, 2016 at 7:10pm PDT


These are some of the best food influencers on Instagram, who can help promote your brand and spread brand awareness.

Who is your favorite from the list? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclosure: Please note that a few of the links in this article are actually affiliate links. If you click on them, I will earn a commission, without any extra cost to you. Please know that I have only selected the best food influencers for you, which I personally tested and highly recommend. For more information, please read my affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy.


Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the Co-Founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

Marco Pierre White

Anyone who is mean enough to make the notoriously hot-tempered Gordon Ramsay burst into tears is probably a person that no one ever wants to work with. Marco Pierre White might even be the reason that his former protégé, Ramsay, is such a nightmare. White was suspiciously tight-lipped when asked about the crying incident by The Washington Post in 2009, only commenting that the alleged scene took place "a long time ago." He also said that his reputation is exaggerated, although in his own book the chef describes himself as "nasty, vicious, aggressive and blunt."

In 2014, employees at White's Pear Tree Inn had enough of that bluntness and staged a walkout. They were reportedly so fed up with White's attitude that they simply walked out of the establishment. Locals were also unhappy with White's takeover of the long-standing gastro-pub, as he raised the prices of drinks after taking over the place. White ended up selling the business shortly after the walkout.

25 Instagram Accounts That Will Make You A Better Chef

Some people just follow their friends and family. Some fill their feeds with preening influencers and reality stars. But only the most masochistic of Insta-addicts chooses to spend their working day staring and salivating over hovering shots of beautiful food. You are one of those people.

And we respect it. That&rsquos why we&rsquove rounded up the very best food accounts on Instagram, for home cooks and hungry scrollers alike.

Georgina Hayden is a cookbook author who for years worked alongside Jamie Oliver and now writes her own books with a focus on celebrating her Cypriot heritage. This means exciting plates of tahinopita, a Cypriot sweet cinnamon tahini swirled bun, or tava, a dish in which lamb neck, cumin, bay, potatoes, tomato are all cooked together.

Cult London bakery Pophams &ndash who now have sites in Islington and London Fields &ndash are the page to follow for tips on perfectly laminated pastries and unusual toast toppings for an upmarket WFH lunch. Having now started making fresh pasta, too, their flavour combinations like oxtail ravioli with bone marrow, and braising liquor sauce with pickled beetroot and cavolo nero, look mouthwateringly good.

Sydney-based Hetty McKinnon is a recipe author whose books, Community, Neighbourhood and Family feature hearty comfort foods and healthy bright salads. Her feed is packed with delicious dinner inspiration, especially Asian food given the focus of her new book is the cuisine of the East.

Noor Murad is a recipe developer working in the Ottolenghi test kitchen, meaning that her page is filled with bright, flavoursome dishes and advice on how to throw them together. That means delicious plates like these tomatoes with "gingery garlicky limey fish saucey dressing" and "crispy fried ginger-garlic yumbits".

Anonymous food editor Clerkenwell Boy is arguably London's top foodie Instagrammer, his account a roll call of the best dishes the city has to offer which gives followers tips about what they should order. He also features recipes on his account if your appetite is suitably whetted and you want to recreate the magic at home.

California food writer, chef and cookbook author Julia Sherman turns vegetables into plates of wonder that will stop you ever thinking a bowl of greens is boring again. Dishes, like this roasted broccolini over tahini sauce, sliced blood orange and crushed crunchy sumac seed cracker, make us believe salad really should run for president.

Author of The Pastry Chef&rsquos Guide, pastry chef (obviously) Ravneet Gill runs the Puff bakery in London, which saw long queues at its drops pre-lockdown, alongside Nicola Lamb Since then her Instagram account been teaching people how to bake like a pro while stuck at home. Expect tips on mad creations, like a cube of brioche filled with custard as, well as ultimate classics like chocolate chip cookies.

David Chang's Momofuku restaurant empire in New York City makes authentic Korean food with a modern twist, and their Instagram account offers tips on recreating some of their dishes like the signature bo ssam or the perfect spicy pork and shrimp noodles.

Ottolenghi recipe developer and cookbook co-author Ixta Belfrage shares truly delightful plates on her feed, from this chicken with 15 cloves of black garlic slowly simmered down, to a step-by-step guide to making biang biang hand-pulled noodles on her Stories.

London food writer, chef and baked goods influencer Felicity Spector is an excellent person to follow if want advice on whipping up vegetarian dishes, beautiful breakfasts or any and every kind of dessert out there. She's also got great connections in the London restaurant scene so can give heads up about new openings (soon) and fancy takeaways (right now).

The very, very good New York Times cooking section requires a paid subscription, which means you can't spend too long hopping around recipes before you hit the dreaded firewall. That's why the NYTCooking Instagram account is so useful &ndash letting you scan over a selection of food shots before you delve into a recipe.

Andrew Rea, better know as 'Binging with Babish', is arguably the biggest chef on YouTube, having amassed over 5 million subscribers in just 4 years. He specialises in teaching users the basics, as well as recreating dishes from famous TV shows and films. His Instagram account offers home cook tutorials, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at his life.

Cook, restaurateur and author Anna Hedworth's simple, stunning rustic meals are well-worth replicating if you have anyone to impress. Her taste in tableware is second-to-none, as well.

New York Times chef Alison Roman, who recently authored the brilliant and stripped-back Nothing Fancy cookbook, often posts her favourite recipes to her Instagram account. Expect beautiful food shots, genuinely useful kitchen hacks and an inordinate amount of anchovies.

It's the week before pay-day and your belly starts to rumble. You simply can't stomach another night of pasta and Netflix. There's only one thing for it: a scroll through London Cheap Eats, which will deliver you to some of capital's best budget restaurants and food stalls. Truly game-changing stuff for anyone with a fiver in their pocket.

Jenny and Teri are a food stylist and photographer duo with three cookbooks under their belt. They share mouthwatering images on their instagram with easy steps on how to recreate them at home. These Irish breakfast nachos made with waffle fries tell you all you need to know.

A calm oasis of clean plates, Lucia Lee's Food Minimalist page specialises in easy bowl recipes and Asian-inspired dinners with plenty of flavour. We like her Shanghai-style noodles with salmon and spring onion, or this sautéed garlicky shrimp.

Boasting a very impressive 1.8m followers, Food 52 posts the best recipe and food photography from their team of editors. In other words a mixture of different tastes and cuisines served onto your phone daily.

With nearly as many followers is the Feed Feed, another account (and website) fuelled by a community of cooks. Be wary of looking around the 4pm sugar slump.

Self-proclaimed (and fair enough tbh) cookie connoisseur Melissa Stadler shares her recipes for red velvet, orange and white chocolate, ginger snap and caramel stuffed cookies to name a few. She also, as you can see, makes a mean fried chicken sandwich.

If you're not particularly into baking don't be put off by the handle. On her carefully curated account Joy shares recipes for plenty of savoury meals including Pizza quiche (a thing, apparently), french onion pasta and fish tacos. She's also the mastermind behind the amazing Drake On Cake Instagram account.

Cookbook writer Tieghan Gerard has equal regard for dishes healthy and comforting. Her account shares beautifully shot recipes for dishes like superfood bibimbap with crispy tofu or her sweet potato gnocchi with rosemary parmesan sauce.

Melissa Clark developed this recipe for Rosh Hashana, but it fits the bill for just about any night. The sweetness of the plums complements the rich, meaty chicken thighs and sharp bite of the red onions. Marinating helps here, so start it the night before. But, after that, this simple, satisfying meal is ready in an hour, max.

If you love chickpeas and pasta, you’re not alone. This flexible take on the Roman dish from Colu Henry is easily tweaked, and ready in 30 minutes — a satisfying hearty weeknight main.

Food Writers and Editors

The Twitterers here range from editors and writers for some major food magazines (like Gourmet) to freelance food journalists to cookbook writers. Some of them also run food blogs or write for online outlets.

@broylesa - Addie Broyles writes the food blog, "Relish Austin" for She also writes the "Relish Austin" column for the Austin American-Statesman newspapers a few times each month.

@CarolynJung - Carolyn Jung is an award-winning food writer who blogs at Food Gal. She's received a number of first-place honors from the Association of Food Journalists and has been a judge in the Pillsbury Bake-Off (among other contests).

@chezpim - Pim Te is a food blogger who tweets about tons of recipes (including a particularly delicious-looking recipe for making brown butter ice cream in a blender). Her food writing, recipes, and photos have also appeared in a variety of print media outlets, including the New York Times and Food & Wine Magazine.

@JulieK - Julie Kalivretenos is a freelance food writer, slow food activist, and raw food enthusiast who blogs at Julie's Raw Ambition. Her blog covers information about raw and natural foods, including some recipes. Her tweets cover similar topics, including links to articles she's written.

@KarenAndAndrew - Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg are the authors of numerous books, most recently "The Flavor Bible," winner of the 2009 James Beard Award. Their tweets talk about their books, food commentary, and interesting links.

@MattArmendariz - Matt Armendariz blogs about food and drink at MattBites, part of the Martha's Circle group of blogs selected by the editors of Martha Stewart Living. He's a food photographer, blogger, and writer, as well as a chef. He's been featured in The New Yorker, Bon Appetit, House Beautiful, and on Martha Stewart's daytime TV show. His tweets cover food and drink-related topics.

@norecipes - Marc Matsumoto is a freelance food writer who writes at No Recipes, a blog covering food and cooking techniques from around the world. His Tweets cover the same.

@RobbWalsh - Robb Walsh is a food writer and restaurant critic who has worked for Houston Press, Natural History Magazine, NPR, Chile Pepper Magazine, Austin Chronicle, Gourmet, and many more. He's also the author of a number of books, including "The Tex-Mex Cookbook," "The Texas Cowboy Cookbook," and "Are You Really Going to Eat That?" He largely covers barbecue, Tex-Mex, and other foods common in Texas.

@Ruhlman - Michael Ruhlman is the author of five books on food and cooking, as well as four cookbooks. He's also been on a number of TV shows, including "Iron Chef America" (as a judge), "Next Iron Chef" (also as a judge) and "Cooking Under Fire." He offers up all sorts of food-related commentary and links on Twitter.

@RuthReichl - Ruth Reichl is the Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine and a former restaurant critic for The New York Times. She's been writing about food since 1972 and has written or edited numerous books, including the 10-book "The Modern Library Food" series. Her tweets revolve entirely around food, with tons of info about her personal menu choices.

@steamykitchen - Jaden is a TV chef on Tampa Bay's CBS affiliate, the food writer for the Tampa Tribune, and a blogger at She tweets about food, recipes, her career, and offers blogging tips.

@thefoodgeek - Brian J. Geiger is a freelance food writer who blogs at and writes for Fine Cooking Magazine. His blog covers recipes, kitchen equipment and gadgets, and anything else food-related. His tweets do the same.

The Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America

The August issue of Dessert Professional features the magazine's picks for the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America. The prestigious list, now in its 19th year, has named such pastry luminaries as Johnny Iuzzini, Michael Laiskonis, Dominique Ansel and Ron Paprocki. In this year's Top Ten are pastry chefs Damien Herrgott, Nathaniel Reid, Angela Pinkerton, Chris Hammer and Sally Camacho (both alums of Top Chef Just Desserts), Christina Tosi, Jean-Marie Auboine, Marc Aumont, Craig Harzewski and Sandro Micheli.

Restaurant Daniel's Executive Pastry Chef Sandro Micheli, a Michelin 3-star pastry chef, presenting his refined dessert of almond dacquoise, milk chocolate parfait, and salted caramel tuille (Paparaji for Dessert Professional, Photo courtesy Dessert Professional Magazine)

Top Chef Just Desserts Season Two winner and founder of The School of Pastry Design in Las Vegas, Chris Hammer working on his dessert (Regina Varolli)

At the Dessert Professional awards, all ten pastry chefs gathered for a crowd of roughly 300 food media and fellow industry professionals, for a dessert tasting that even the most die-hard dessert-aholic would have found overwhelming. Having tasted my way around the Institute of Culinary Education, where the event was held, I was incredibly impressed by all the pastry chefs' offerings. But still, I had my three personal favorites: Angela Pinkerton of 11 Madison Park, Nathaniel Reid of Norman Love Confections, and Damien Herrgott of Bosie Tea Parlor.

Nathaniel Reid not only wowed with his selection of desserts, he also went all out on his display, creating a beautiful sugar showpiece. Reid explained his over-the-top approach, "For me, coming from a smaller town in Florida, I really wanted to show all these people I look up to and respect just what I can do. So I took the opportunity and ran with it. It's the Top Ten of Pastry, you've got to make something that's equal to that title!"

Nathaniel Reid posing with his sugar showpiece (Regina Varolli)

Reid came to pasty in college, quite unexpectedly as he was a biology major and had always wanted to be a biologist. After a disappointing internship, he changed his mind and didn't know what to do. It was actually his mom who suggested he be a chef, telling him that he had always loved to cook and that he was really good at it. So he switched his major to Hospitality & Restaurant Management, and after graduation headed off to Paris to study at Le Cordon Bleu.

"Going to Paris was an amazing experience. I had maybe $1,000 to live for a year and a half, but I wanted to do it so badly. I didn't know how I'd make it work, but I just put myself in the situation and hoped it worked out!"

Famed cookbook author Rose Levy-Beranbaum photographs Nathaniel Reid's display as Reid sets out his petit pastries (Regina Varolli)

Well, it did work out. Reid spent a couple of months on a friend's couch, taking food home from school to eat (even the food of his fellow students who were happy to share). Then he landed a private chef position (quite a statement of his talent, a Parisian family hiring an American cook), which came with room and board. "But," said Reid, "I had applied for so many scholarships before I left, and every time I was down to my last dollar, a check would arrive in the mail!"

Reid's pastry career really took off when he joined the opening team at Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas, from there, his talent and experience only grew. Matthew Stevens, Editor of Dessert Professional who, along with co-editor Tish Boyle decides who makes the list, said of Reid, "Nathaniel had always been on our radar because he's a highly accomplished pastry chef. But any pastry chef that Norman Love would trust to basically run his day-to-day operations is about as great of a seal of approval as you're going to get in this business."

Nathaniel Reid's Passion Fruit Tarte (Paparaji for Dessert Professional, Photo courtesy Dessert Professional Magazine)

Another favorite that blew me away was the unassuming and uber-talented Damien Herrgott of Bosie Tea Parlor in NYC. When I asked Matthew Stevens why Herrgott made the list, he explained, "The first time I went to Bosie I saw they had these amazing teas. So I made a comment to Damien that it would be great to see more of his desserts incorporating the teas. Then, six weeks later, he had reworked his desserts and in such a little time he came up with the best tea desserts I've ever tried! Damien married his pastries to what Bosie Tea Parlor is, and he did is as well as you could possibly imagine."

Damien Herrgott's Chocolate-Chai Tea Tarte (Paparaji for Dessert Professional, Photo courtesy Dessert Professional Magazine)

Stevens continued, "But Herrgott has all the pedigree of a top pastry chef. He was hired at just 23 to open Pierre Hermé's first shop in Paris, and he worked with PH for four years."

When I asked Herrgott how it felt to receive the Top Ten distinction, he replied, "It's such a huge honor to be recognized by Dessert Professional, it's the best magazine in America for the pastry industry. But I think the greatest reward came at the awards, seeing the faces of the people enjoying my desserts. Because at the end of the day, that's what we pastry chefs live for. We make sweet things so people can enjoy them!"

Damien Herrgott putting the finishing touches on his Chocotale-Chai Tarte (Regina Varolli)

I asked Herrgott if his mentor Pierre Hermé still influenced his work today and got a resounding yes. "PH definitely still has an influence on me. He has such an amazing way of working -- the flavor combinations, the creativity, recipe development, technique, even the way you physically work in a kitchen. I couldn't have asked for a better mentor!"

Damien Herrgott's picture-perfect Parisian macarons -- Foreground to background flavors: raspberry-yuzu, vanilla cheesecake, verbena, and salted caramel (Regina Varolli)

Happy to see three women on this year's Top Ten list, I was most impressed by the dessert of Angela Pinkerton of 11 Madison Park in NYC. Of Angela, Matthew Stevens said, "She is one of the most precise pastry chefs in terms of work. She's just outstanding. Angela has an amazing sense of flavor and texture. And it's also noteworthy when a woman rises to that level in our industry. As the pastry chef at a Michelin three-star restaurant, she's undeniably among the best in the world."

Angela Pinkerton's complex concoction of white chocolate cream, lavender-cocoa sorbet, milk chocolate crispies, lavender meringue, cocoa meringue, chocolate cookie crumble, chocolate liquid cookie, and chocolate-lavender "rocks." (Paparaji for Dessert Professional, Photo courtesy Dessert Professional Magazine)

When I asked Angela how it felt to get the award, she also said what a great honor it was. But, like Herrgott and even Reid, what she appreciated most came at the event. "You give a lot of yourself and your life to your work, and it's really nice to stop and share your accomplishments with people who appreciate that. Seeing people enjoy my desserts is what's most important."

Pinkerton continued, "It was pretty surreal though. I mean, you don't stand around all day patting yourself on the back. or at least you shouldn't! I don't think you'll get to the level of Dessert Professional's Top Ten if you do that!"

You can read more about all Top Ten honorees in the August issue of Dessert Professional, but for instant gratification, check out this slideshow of all the honorees' desserts. But be warned, you may need to suck on a sugar cube to save yourself from the shakes!

United States

Au Cheval, Chicago
This diner, with outlets in New York and Chicago, is famous for its cheeseburger. Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio, who orders the double, says: “It’s got layers of good cheese, with a delicious thick piece of bacon and an egg. It’s succulent and elegant at the same time.”
Chosen by Gastón Acurio of Astrid & Gastón, Lima 

Burger Joint, New York
This cash-only speakeasy-style joint hidden beside the lobby in the Parker Meridien is legendary. It’s dark and moody with great music and for many chefs it is among the coolest in New York. Jamie Lee from Copenhagen says you can’t go wrong with the cheeseburger.
Chosen by Jason Atherton of Pollen Street Social, London Jamie Lee of  Kyens Fiskebar, Copenhagen

French-born Daniel Boulud is famed for his luxury DB Burger, filled with braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffle. � in NY is excellent and a bite that you will always remember,” says Spanish chef Elena Arzak. French chef Pierre Koffmann is another fan.
Chosen by Elena Arzak of Arzak, San Sebastián Pierre Koffmann, London

Five Guys (various)
Thisਊmerican chain is expanding internationally and has caught the attention of some of London’s finest chefs. Claude Bosi, who holds two Michelin stars, says: “I like the choice of toppings and the meat has good flavor. But the chips are the best.”
Chosen by Claude Bosi of Claude Bosi, London Ashley Palmer-Watts, formerly of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London

In-N-Out (various)
Chefs love this regional chain founded in California. Claude Bosi praises the great meat patty, light bread and brilliant shakes.  𠇊 trip to In-and-Out burger is always a must,” says New Zealand chef Josh Emett, who goes for the Double Double, made with  two cheese-topped patties.  It’s the same for Randy Garutti: “If I’m in L.A., I’ll snag a Double Double.”
Chosen by Claude Bosi of Claude Bosi, London Josh Emett of Rātā, Queenstown, New Zealand Josh Niland of  Saint Peter, Sydney Martha Ortiz of  Filigrana, Mexico City Randy Garutti of Shake Shack, New York

Joe Junior, New York
Japanese chef Hisato Hamada likes to visit Joe Junior when he is in New York. “I order the beef without cheese,” he says. 𠇏or me, the beauty of this burger is in its simplicity. I like that it is unchanged and has a classic soul. It is my definition of America.”
Chosen by Hisato Hamada of Wagyumafia, Tokyo

The Dirty Burg is the best burger in the States, Kyle Connaughton reckons. “It&aposs an incredible blend of chuck, short ribਊnd back on the patty with a soft, absorbent਋un loaded with sesame seeds, grilled onions, cheese, house-made pickles, and onion mayo,” he says. 𠇏or me, it&aposs the burger all others are measured by.”
Chosen by Kyle Connaughton of Singlethread, Healdsburg, California

Minetta Tavern, New York
Randy Garutti of Shake Shack says: “When I’m not eating a ShackBurger, I love the burger at Minetta Tavern.” Australian-based chef Andrew McConnell orders the Black Label Burger. Mumbai-based Prateek Sadhu loves the meat and the buns.
Chosen by Randy Garutti of Shake Shack Andrew McConnell of Cutler & Co., Melbourne Prateek Sadhu of Masque, Mumbai

Chef Daniel Boulud enjoys theਊ-5 Wagyu Burger on the brunch menu at Grant Achatz’s Roister in Chicago. “It’s aꃞlicious combination of fatty beef, aged cheddar and smoked bacon,” he says.
Chosen by Daniel Boulud of Daniel, New York

It’s a rare chef who is not a fan of Shake Shack, where restaurateur Danny Meyer raised the bar for burgers. “It’s my favorite,” says French chef Greg Marchand. “I always go for the SmokeShack ( double stack of course) and Iਊlso love their cheesy crinkly fries. “I love Shake Shack!” says Thailand’s Thitis Tassanakajohn. “It’s so addictive,” says Jason Atherton.
Chosen by Jason Atherton of Pollen Street Social, London Ravinder Bhogal of Jikoni, London Daniel Boulud of Daniel Hélène Darroze of Hélène Darroze, Paris Greg Marchand of   Frenchie, Paris Thitid Tassanakajohn of Le Du, Bangkok 

Superiority Burger, New York
Here’s one for the vegetarians, with many vegan options. The Superiority Burger features Muenster cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, dill and pickle. Superiority is the creation of chef and musician Brooks Headley, former pastry chef at Del Posto. 
Chosen by Enrique Olvera of Pujol, Mexico City