|By JULIETTE ROSSANT |
Forbes' annual list of Tastemakers comes with an informative essay on some (but not all) of today's hot trends: local versus organic (already covered extensively in TIME last week); young chefs opening up restaurants outside of big cities (a trend discussed on Super Chef); and the rise of Las Vegas:
The ascent of Las Vegas as a culinary destination gathered more momentum in 2006, says celebrated food critic Alan Richman. Many of the chefs on our list, including Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Tom Colicchio and Joël Robuchon, have outposts in Sin City.The Vegas story began in 1992, when Wolfgang Puck first opened a branch of Spago. More interesting to mention might have been competiting tourism regions getting celebrity chef attention, particularly the Gulf Coast (see Super Chef articles on Todd English and Emeril Lagasse) and Atlantic City, where not only Wolfgang Puck, but also Bobby Flay, Michael Mina and Luke Palladino have opened in the Borgata Hotel Casino.
What is a list called "Tastemakers" suppose to represent? Author Miriam Marcus says this:
This year, Forbes.com has identified 10 of the most influential chefs working in America today. Of the 12.8 million restaurant and foodservice outlet employees, these 10 are arguably doing the most to tease, surprise and gratify our national appetite... To put together this year's list of Tastemakers, we interviewed industry insiders, counted media mentions and added a pinch of our taste. Result? The list that you find here -- a degustation, if you will.Of course, it isn't easy coming up with a list and any list has to exclude many more worthy names than it includes. All of Forbes' choices are worthy of being on this list. Still, no Asian or Hispanic chefs? Surely Asian and Latin food are two of the biggest trends in America. What about chefs like Marcus Samuelsson or Morou Outtara, who are pioneering African cuisine, Norman Van Aken who has been pioneering New World cuisine? How about David Burke and Laurent Tourondel, who have blazed ahead with expansion this year?
One cause for a sigh of relief: all the names on the list are real chefs: no TV entertainers who cook are mentioned.
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