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7 Professional Culinary Minds You Should Follow in 2021

The entrepreneurial spirit of restaurant sector professionals was put to the test forcing leaders to innovate to stay afloat

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The global pandemic has had a tremendous effect across the restaurant and hospitality industry. The economic and internal hardships that occurred during this time — Mostly fueled by restrictions and guidelines for businesses, forced many to significantly reduce their operation and management. With dining and hospitality restrictions, a sharp decline in customer traffic quickly became the reality.

Srivatsa KR

The entrepreneurial spirit of restaurant sector professionals was put to the test forcing leaders to innovate to stay afloat. As we as a collective move toward the other side post covid, restaurant & hospitality professionals are on course for an amazing year.

That being said, here are seven restaurant industry professionals you should consider following in 2021 that have done an amazing job continuing to grow through tough times and are on track for an amazing year and continued success.

Andrew Molen

Andrew Molen is an Executive Level Restaurant Professional with restaurants in Boston and New York forthcoming. From a very young age, Andrew's passion for what he does has driven his creativity and made work fun in doing what he loves most. With unparalleled experience and knowledge under his belt thus far, Andrew is consistently looking to expand his knowledge and experience into different cities, where he strives to create fun, new, and exciting restaurants. His career in the restaurant industry has no end in sight, and he looks forward to furthering his bandwidth across multiple states.

Carmine Di Giovanni

Carmine Di Giovanni is an Executive Chef and Partner at David Burke Hospitality Management in New York and New Jersey. With properties in Charlotte, North Carolina as well, Carmine strives to diversify his skillset, business acumen, and portfolio through expansion. Alongside his partner, David Burke, Carmine currently oversees 14 different properties with plans to expand globally. Working in the best kitchens in New York City with chefs such as Mario Batali, David Burke, Eric Ripert, and Laurant Gras, Carmine learned the value of perseverance, helping forge his career into what it is today. Carmine has been awarded two Michelin Stars for four years consecutively, a 3-star rating from The New York Times, and has been recognized as one of New York City's top chefs. Carmine also prides himself on total fairness on both the business and employee front, ensuring he is always doing what's best for the company and employees as well.

Anastasios Chasekioglou

Chef Anastasios Chasekioglou is a American private chef and caterer who was born and raised in Greece. By the age of 33, Tasos had already worked across most of Europe including areas such as Switzerland, Amsterdam, & Paris. During his tenure in Switzerland, he worked alongside 2 time Michelin Star Chef Sergi Arola, who became his mentor. After Europe, Tasos pursued America where he became the Executive Chef at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami, Florida. After successfully relocating in Miami & following his continued culinary passion Tasos founded CT Luxury Catering LLC. His new company is an exclusive catering and butler service provider tailoring to high-end clients, celebrities, and VIPs. Tasos main focus now is his unique dining approach for on demand yacht catering, with the goal of taking over the yacht hospitality industry by providing his tailored services with the ultimate dining experience. Tasos looks forward to furthering his luxury catering services in Miami and beyond.

Joseph Bonavita

Joseph Bonavita is the Executive Chef at The Deck at Island Gardens in Miami, Florida. From Sicilian background, Chef Bonavita's passion for cooking emerged at a very young age, and has fueled his work. Originally from Long Island, New York, Chef Bonavita has worked in some of New York City's finest restaurants, including Per Se and Le Bernardin. It was within these restaurants that he built and fine tuned his culinary skills upon graduating from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago. While spending time in Chicago, Chef Bonavita enhanced his culinary skills and knowledge while staging under legendary Chef Grant Achatz at Alinea, as well as working at TheWit Hotel. Following his apprenticeship, he returned to New York City where he was the Executive Sous Chef at Chef Todd English's restaurant, Olives, later advancing under Chef Graham Elliot at Primary Food and Drink as Sous Chef. His recent relocation to South Florida has opened even more doors for him working as the Lead for sweet and savory teams at The Tideline Ocean Resort, a chef and partner in Trophy Room Restaurant, and most recently STK Steakhouse.

Shota Nakajima

Shota Nakajima is the Founder and Executive Chef at Convey LLC, and Owner of Taku, a Japanese restaurant in Seattle's Capitol Hill. Growing up under his mother, a professional baker, and father, whose family owns three Michelin Starred Hyotei, Shota was a natural culinary mastermind from the start. After apprenticing under Michelin Star Chef Sakamoto for 5 years, Shota's culinary skills elevated and became very well developed throughout the beginning of his career. At the age of 25, he opened his first restaurant with no experience in leading or operating a business. His unparalleled work ethic has helped him become a 3-time finalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef of The Year, beat Bobby Flay on The Food Network's Beat Bobby Flay, competed in the Iron Chef Gauntlet, and competed on season 18 of Top Chef. Today Shota is continuing to work hard to expand his brand with three new projects coming this year.

Chad Rosenthal

Chad Rosenthal is the Chef/Owner at The Lucky Well restaurant based in Ambler, PA, and most recently the Owner of Motel Fried Chicken, a brand launched during the 2020 shutdown which opens May 25th in Chicago & now ships nationwide via Goldbelly. Chad is a self taught chef, entrepreneur, and successful restaurateur with a focus on the art of creating unique culinary experiences. Rosenthal's success started with his first restaurant The Lucky Well, which today has 3 unique locations. Chad's love for serving and feeding others, helped him to come up with unique ways to stay afloat during the pandemic. Today, Chad is a proud owner of three BBQ and Blues Joints and has appeared on two seasons of Food Network Star and Chopped Grill Masters, where he finished as runner-up. Moving forward, Chad is looking to get his Lucky Well's back on top in the BBQ world and expand Motel Fried Chicken across the country, one chicken sandwich at a time.

Emme Collins

Emme Collins is the Owner of Chef Emme Collins Inc, a private chef and catering company based in Seattle, Washington. After immigrating to the United States from Brazil at the age of 6, Emme attended the Seattle Culinary Academy, where she graduated as the "Outstanding Culinarian" of her graduating class. Emme went on to start her own private chef company after graduating, where she began servicing high net worth A-list celebrities and Individuals. As a private chef she quickly grew from a private chef into a catering company named "Chef Emme Catering Co.". Following additional years of success, Emme founded Chef Business Academy which is an online program to help Chefs successfully grow their own business as a private chef and caterer. Her two online courses #SixFigureChef and Booked Solid aim to help chefs achieve the same great results in the fast-growing personal chef field. As a mother of 3, Emmes vision is to show other Chefs that they too can become successful caterers and private chefs allowing them to earn more and have more time for their families. Emme's journey in the culinary world has provided her opportunities and freedom she could never imagine, which is the inspiration behind Chef Business Academy.