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Fifth-Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Unites Chefs in Downtown Los Angeles

Fifth-Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Unites Chefs in Downtown Los Angeles


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The fifth-annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival was held August 27 through 30 and featured chefs, winemakers, and sommeliers throughout the city, and food festivals along Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.

We caught up with some of the many chefs participating in the Lexus Live event on Saturday, August 29, to see what they were cooking and discuss some upcoming projects.

Chef Yousef Ghalaini from FIG in Santa Monica made charred Mediterranean octopus with crispy pork belly and rice. “The spices we used pair well with all the wines being offered today,” said Ghalaini. Upcoming projects at FIG include a new remodel featuring a wood burning oven and grill.

Union’s chef, Bruce Kalman, made a luxurious beef tortelletti with a butter, lemon, fennel, and poppy seed sauce. His next project is a new pasta bar located in Grand Central Market downtown. “We will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and will offer a large variety of pasta dishes,” said Kalman.

Chef Elizabeth Falkner of Folk Yeah! New York participated in a “Sweet N’ Savory” lunch on Friday, August 28, with fellow chefs Ben Spungin and Ricky Webster. “I made a seared venison with foie gras mousse, wild rice and blackberries,” said Falkner. She is finishing up her memoir book and looking forward to the Professional Women’s Chef and Restaurateurs Conference next April in Los Angeles.

Manhattan Beach Post chef, David LeFevre, served roasted pork shoulder to guests and shared news that he is working on his new The Arthur J restaurant he recently opened in Manhattan Beach. “My main focus is to keep menus at all three restaurants, Manhattan Beach Post, Fishing with Dynamite, and The Arthur J local, fresh and tasting good,” said LeFevre.

Bierbeisl Imbiss chef, Bernhard Mairinger, also is working hard at his new bakery downtown. His booth was serving a crostini style Austrian street food sandwich with pork veal sausage and a curry turmeric sauce. “We brought in bakers for my new downtown restaurant and are experimenting with combining pastry and savory to create innovative sandwiches and dishes,” he said.

Chef Carlos Salgado from Taco Maria served squid braised in chile with garlic, spices and new potatoes. “We are currently bringing in lots of heirloom corn from Mexico and sharing it with some other L.A. restaurants,” said Salgado.

Chef Brad Miller from Ox & Son made a chicken croquette with fermented cabbage and truffle powder. “We have been fermenting cabbage for seven months for this event,” said Miller. He is also working on honing his pickling skills and making varieties of kimchi for his restaurant.

Patina Restaurant Group’s chef, Gregg Wiele, served stuffed anelletti with a sweet corn puree. “We at Patina Group are focusing on all of the Emmy Award meals that we will be serving in a few weeks,” said Wiele.


Meet The 10 Best Mexican Chefs in The United States Right Now

We asked the country's foremost expert on Mexican food to tell us about the innovators driving the cuisine forward in the United States today.

You don&apost just sit down with Bill Esparza for a quick chat—talking to America&aposs most knowledgeable writer on the subject of Mexican food is something that can stretch out into hours, sometimes a whole day. He is a man who always seems to have a lot on his mind, and not just about food, but the politics of the stuff, too𠅎verything, really, that we talk about, when we talk about food in America today. Its origins, the evolution, the contribution that immigrants have made and continue to make, the concepts of cultural appropriation, the various people caught in shameless acts of Columbusing—it&aposs typically a lot at once, but it&aposs always exhilarating, and you&aposre always left wanting more.

It&aposs not like he can&apost talk about anything else𠅎sparza had another, fascinating life in the music business, before he decided to delve into food blogging. He eventually worked his way up to become the go-to on the subject not only of Mexican food, but of all types of Latin American cooking, in a city that&aposs positively drowning in the stuff. After years of covering the scene for everyone and anyone, after hosting juried taco festivals and making countless media appearances, Esparza, probably one of very few people who could annoy Rick Bayless enough to get blocked by him on Twitter, has finally put out his first book.

The subject, you might have already guessed. Called "L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places," the richly visual tome is a love letter to the heritage, present and continued evolution of Mexican cooking in Los Angeles. On a recent morning, I managed to track him down to ask him a question that I&aposm guessing he&aposs only too happy to answer: Who are the best, most interesting, most innovative Mexican chefs, working in America right now? Whom do we go to, to taste and see the future of Mexican food in the United States? After about an hour and a half, we got something approximating a list. Ready? Let&aposs take a ride.

Wes Avila Los Angeles
"Wes is the liberator of the modern Mexican taco," says Esparza of one of the country&aposs most innovative taqueros still working out of a truck. (Avila will soon open his first brick-and-mortar, in LA&aposs Arts District.) "He&aposs created a whole new style. which is hard on such a simple canvas as a tortilla. Other people had used tweezers on tacos before, but never to create something so delicious, so interesting. His style is fully formed, everyone else is in development. Avila took a short time to develop his own unique style. How many people have done that?"

Carlos Salgado Costa Mesa, Calif.
There&aposs a reason why Taco Maria, a snug, tasting-menu focused joint roughly an hour from most places in Los Angeles took the number five spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold&aposs 101 Best Restaurants list, just out this week—Salgado is just that good. An Orange County native, he first blipped on the radar of SoCal diners after launching a taco truck back in 2011, his (to most eyes) illogical follow-up to decade or more of toiling in various Michelin-starred (Coi, Commis) kitchens up in the Bay Area. The truck begat the sleek little fine-dining spot where you find him today, and while you can still get tacos here, it&aposs really all about the four-course prix-fixe menu of what Salgado likes to refer to as Chicano Cuisine.

Enrique Olvera New York
In a city where certain people who&aposve figured out how to get diners to pay upwards of $10 per pretty basic taco are still held up as examples of how Mexican cooking has so greatly improved (it&aposs still really not great), let&aposs just call it a minor miracle that one of Mexico City&aposs top chefs was able to airlift in, open, and sustain not one, but two restaurants—the dreamy, very fine Cosme first, the more casual, but no less chic Atla, second. A true trendsetter, Olvera&aposs Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, was sending shockwaves around Mexico and the cooking world at a time when New Yorkers were still wrapping their heads around the guacamole at Dos Caminos.

Carlos Gaytan Chicago
Arriving in the Windy City at age 20 and working his way up from nowhere, Gaytan opened Mexique in 2008, becoming the first Mexican chef to ever go home with their own Michelin star, back in 2013. In true Midwest style, he&aposs still at it, applying classic technique to Mexican flavors both familiar and unfamiliar—it&aposs fine dining, but in a cozy spot just far enough from the heavily-touristed downtown and the so-hot-right-now dining scene to the west, that almost it feels like the terrific neighborhood joint every American neighborhood deserves.

Ricardo Diaz Whittier, Calif.
A pioneer of what Esparza refers to as Alta California cuisine, Diaz helped make the old-school taco de guisado a Los Angeles hipster must-have (Guisados), he made the Mexican torta a thing you go to the deli for, just like you would an Italian sub (Cook&aposs Torta&aposs), and he started turned an old-school mariscos joint in a quiet suburb into a banging Mexican gastropub of sorts (Bizarra Capital). "He introduced the notion that Mexican American cuisine could be contemporary, and not just something that you&aposve brought back from Mexico," says Esparza. "He took the Mexican-American voice, and the way we eat, into a restaurant."

Gabriela Cámara San Francisco
Every food tourist that makes their way to Mexico City either goes to Contramar or is, at the very least told to go to Contramar, Cámara&aposs famed, upscale casual seafood spot in the Roma Norte neighborhood—what many of them might not know is that they could also just go to San Francisco, where she&aposs run one of the country&aposs top Mexican restaurants, Cála, since 2015. A celebration of seafood, just like Contramar, things are perhaps even more elevated, more daring, more modern here—not that you&aposve got to sit down for the full treatment there&aposs a taco window out in the alley, too.

Ray Garcia Los Angeles
A native Angeleno, Garcia&aposs Broken Spanish𠅊nd its much-lauded elevations of humble staples like the chicharron—is a fine-dining star of the nascent Alta California cuisine opening a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was quite the scene change for Garcia, who previously helmed a very different restaurant altogether at a hotel in Santa Monica. His leap into the future appears to have paid off there&aposs even a casual spin-off, the daring (some might say slightly tweaked) B.S. Taqueria, a few blocks away.

Diego Hernandez Los Angeles
Another top chef from south of the border, this time just south of it, Hernandez became world-famous for his bold, tasting-menu restaurant𠅌orazón de Tierra—located on a beautiful piece of lan in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine region, just an hour or so from San Diego. After landing a spot on the Latin America&aposs 50 Best Restaurants list, Hernandez is now bringing his ultra-modern style to a particularly upmarket patch of Los Angeles. The going hasn&apost been smooth, but there&aposs promise. :A bumpy start in Los Angeles shouldn&apost take away from his accomplishment, anymore than any other chef that&aposs had challenges, which is most of them," says Esparza. "Hernandez is still a badass, great chef and I have no doubt he&aposll figure things out."

Eduardo Ruiz Los Angeles
Known best as the guy who got people to drive from all over Southern California to the working-class suburb of Bell to eat dinner—Ruiz&apos Pan-Latin Corazon y Miel was a smash hit, in its time—he&aposs now working with others on two very different concepts, Chica&aposs Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles, and on the menu at Public Beer & Wine, a very Long Beach-y spot in Long Beach, but probably one of the few craft beer-crazed bars where you can order proper, slow-cooked barbacoa.

Silvana Salcido Esparza Phoenix
Almost a household name in the Valley of the Sun at this point, the self-described creator of comida chingona (for the sake of politeness, let&aposs just say that means something like &aposbad-ass food&apos) first reeled in Phoenicians with her homey, familiar cooking at Barrio Café, followed by subsequent spin-offs—now, she&aposs kicked things into high-gear with the recently-opened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a home for thoroughly modern Mexican cooking. Once again, Phoenix is in love.


Meet The 10 Best Mexican Chefs in The United States Right Now

We asked the country's foremost expert on Mexican food to tell us about the innovators driving the cuisine forward in the United States today.

You don&apost just sit down with Bill Esparza for a quick chat—talking to America&aposs most knowledgeable writer on the subject of Mexican food is something that can stretch out into hours, sometimes a whole day. He is a man who always seems to have a lot on his mind, and not just about food, but the politics of the stuff, too𠅎verything, really, that we talk about, when we talk about food in America today. Its origins, the evolution, the contribution that immigrants have made and continue to make, the concepts of cultural appropriation, the various people caught in shameless acts of Columbusing—it&aposs typically a lot at once, but it&aposs always exhilarating, and you&aposre always left wanting more.

It&aposs not like he can&apost talk about anything else𠅎sparza had another, fascinating life in the music business, before he decided to delve into food blogging. He eventually worked his way up to become the go-to on the subject not only of Mexican food, but of all types of Latin American cooking, in a city that&aposs positively drowning in the stuff. After years of covering the scene for everyone and anyone, after hosting juried taco festivals and making countless media appearances, Esparza, probably one of very few people who could annoy Rick Bayless enough to get blocked by him on Twitter, has finally put out his first book.

The subject, you might have already guessed. Called "L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places," the richly visual tome is a love letter to the heritage, present and continued evolution of Mexican cooking in Los Angeles. On a recent morning, I managed to track him down to ask him a question that I&aposm guessing he&aposs only too happy to answer: Who are the best, most interesting, most innovative Mexican chefs, working in America right now? Whom do we go to, to taste and see the future of Mexican food in the United States? After about an hour and a half, we got something approximating a list. Ready? Let&aposs take a ride.

Wes Avila Los Angeles
"Wes is the liberator of the modern Mexican taco," says Esparza of one of the country&aposs most innovative taqueros still working out of a truck. (Avila will soon open his first brick-and-mortar, in LA&aposs Arts District.) "He&aposs created a whole new style. which is hard on such a simple canvas as a tortilla. Other people had used tweezers on tacos before, but never to create something so delicious, so interesting. His style is fully formed, everyone else is in development. Avila took a short time to develop his own unique style. How many people have done that?"

Carlos Salgado Costa Mesa, Calif.
There&aposs a reason why Taco Maria, a snug, tasting-menu focused joint roughly an hour from most places in Los Angeles took the number five spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold&aposs 101 Best Restaurants list, just out this week—Salgado is just that good. An Orange County native, he first blipped on the radar of SoCal diners after launching a taco truck back in 2011, his (to most eyes) illogical follow-up to decade or more of toiling in various Michelin-starred (Coi, Commis) kitchens up in the Bay Area. The truck begat the sleek little fine-dining spot where you find him today, and while you can still get tacos here, it&aposs really all about the four-course prix-fixe menu of what Salgado likes to refer to as Chicano Cuisine.

Enrique Olvera New York
In a city where certain people who&aposve figured out how to get diners to pay upwards of $10 per pretty basic taco are still held up as examples of how Mexican cooking has so greatly improved (it&aposs still really not great), let&aposs just call it a minor miracle that one of Mexico City&aposs top chefs was able to airlift in, open, and sustain not one, but two restaurants—the dreamy, very fine Cosme first, the more casual, but no less chic Atla, second. A true trendsetter, Olvera&aposs Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, was sending shockwaves around Mexico and the cooking world at a time when New Yorkers were still wrapping their heads around the guacamole at Dos Caminos.

Carlos Gaytan Chicago
Arriving in the Windy City at age 20 and working his way up from nowhere, Gaytan opened Mexique in 2008, becoming the first Mexican chef to ever go home with their own Michelin star, back in 2013. In true Midwest style, he&aposs still at it, applying classic technique to Mexican flavors both familiar and unfamiliar—it&aposs fine dining, but in a cozy spot just far enough from the heavily-touristed downtown and the so-hot-right-now dining scene to the west, that almost it feels like the terrific neighborhood joint every American neighborhood deserves.

Ricardo Diaz Whittier, Calif.
A pioneer of what Esparza refers to as Alta California cuisine, Diaz helped make the old-school taco de guisado a Los Angeles hipster must-have (Guisados), he made the Mexican torta a thing you go to the deli for, just like you would an Italian sub (Cook&aposs Torta&aposs), and he started turned an old-school mariscos joint in a quiet suburb into a banging Mexican gastropub of sorts (Bizarra Capital). "He introduced the notion that Mexican American cuisine could be contemporary, and not just something that you&aposve brought back from Mexico," says Esparza. "He took the Mexican-American voice, and the way we eat, into a restaurant."

Gabriela Cámara San Francisco
Every food tourist that makes their way to Mexico City either goes to Contramar or is, at the very least told to go to Contramar, Cámara&aposs famed, upscale casual seafood spot in the Roma Norte neighborhood—what many of them might not know is that they could also just go to San Francisco, where she&aposs run one of the country&aposs top Mexican restaurants, Cála, since 2015. A celebration of seafood, just like Contramar, things are perhaps even more elevated, more daring, more modern here—not that you&aposve got to sit down for the full treatment there&aposs a taco window out in the alley, too.

Ray Garcia Los Angeles
A native Angeleno, Garcia&aposs Broken Spanish𠅊nd its much-lauded elevations of humble staples like the chicharron—is a fine-dining star of the nascent Alta California cuisine opening a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was quite the scene change for Garcia, who previously helmed a very different restaurant altogether at a hotel in Santa Monica. His leap into the future appears to have paid off there&aposs even a casual spin-off, the daring (some might say slightly tweaked) B.S. Taqueria, a few blocks away.

Diego Hernandez Los Angeles
Another top chef from south of the border, this time just south of it, Hernandez became world-famous for his bold, tasting-menu restaurant𠅌orazón de Tierra—located on a beautiful piece of lan in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine region, just an hour or so from San Diego. After landing a spot on the Latin America&aposs 50 Best Restaurants list, Hernandez is now bringing his ultra-modern style to a particularly upmarket patch of Los Angeles. The going hasn&apost been smooth, but there&aposs promise. :A bumpy start in Los Angeles shouldn&apost take away from his accomplishment, anymore than any other chef that&aposs had challenges, which is most of them," says Esparza. "Hernandez is still a badass, great chef and I have no doubt he&aposll figure things out."

Eduardo Ruiz Los Angeles
Known best as the guy who got people to drive from all over Southern California to the working-class suburb of Bell to eat dinner—Ruiz&apos Pan-Latin Corazon y Miel was a smash hit, in its time—he&aposs now working with others on two very different concepts, Chica&aposs Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles, and on the menu at Public Beer & Wine, a very Long Beach-y spot in Long Beach, but probably one of the few craft beer-crazed bars where you can order proper, slow-cooked barbacoa.

Silvana Salcido Esparza Phoenix
Almost a household name in the Valley of the Sun at this point, the self-described creator of comida chingona (for the sake of politeness, let&aposs just say that means something like &aposbad-ass food&apos) first reeled in Phoenicians with her homey, familiar cooking at Barrio Café, followed by subsequent spin-offs—now, she&aposs kicked things into high-gear with the recently-opened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a home for thoroughly modern Mexican cooking. Once again, Phoenix is in love.


Meet The 10 Best Mexican Chefs in The United States Right Now

We asked the country's foremost expert on Mexican food to tell us about the innovators driving the cuisine forward in the United States today.

You don&apost just sit down with Bill Esparza for a quick chat—talking to America&aposs most knowledgeable writer on the subject of Mexican food is something that can stretch out into hours, sometimes a whole day. He is a man who always seems to have a lot on his mind, and not just about food, but the politics of the stuff, too𠅎verything, really, that we talk about, when we talk about food in America today. Its origins, the evolution, the contribution that immigrants have made and continue to make, the concepts of cultural appropriation, the various people caught in shameless acts of Columbusing—it&aposs typically a lot at once, but it&aposs always exhilarating, and you&aposre always left wanting more.

It&aposs not like he can&apost talk about anything else𠅎sparza had another, fascinating life in the music business, before he decided to delve into food blogging. He eventually worked his way up to become the go-to on the subject not only of Mexican food, but of all types of Latin American cooking, in a city that&aposs positively drowning in the stuff. After years of covering the scene for everyone and anyone, after hosting juried taco festivals and making countless media appearances, Esparza, probably one of very few people who could annoy Rick Bayless enough to get blocked by him on Twitter, has finally put out his first book.

The subject, you might have already guessed. Called "L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places," the richly visual tome is a love letter to the heritage, present and continued evolution of Mexican cooking in Los Angeles. On a recent morning, I managed to track him down to ask him a question that I&aposm guessing he&aposs only too happy to answer: Who are the best, most interesting, most innovative Mexican chefs, working in America right now? Whom do we go to, to taste and see the future of Mexican food in the United States? After about an hour and a half, we got something approximating a list. Ready? Let&aposs take a ride.

Wes Avila Los Angeles
"Wes is the liberator of the modern Mexican taco," says Esparza of one of the country&aposs most innovative taqueros still working out of a truck. (Avila will soon open his first brick-and-mortar, in LA&aposs Arts District.) "He&aposs created a whole new style. which is hard on such a simple canvas as a tortilla. Other people had used tweezers on tacos before, but never to create something so delicious, so interesting. His style is fully formed, everyone else is in development. Avila took a short time to develop his own unique style. How many people have done that?"

Carlos Salgado Costa Mesa, Calif.
There&aposs a reason why Taco Maria, a snug, tasting-menu focused joint roughly an hour from most places in Los Angeles took the number five spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold&aposs 101 Best Restaurants list, just out this week—Salgado is just that good. An Orange County native, he first blipped on the radar of SoCal diners after launching a taco truck back in 2011, his (to most eyes) illogical follow-up to decade or more of toiling in various Michelin-starred (Coi, Commis) kitchens up in the Bay Area. The truck begat the sleek little fine-dining spot where you find him today, and while you can still get tacos here, it&aposs really all about the four-course prix-fixe menu of what Salgado likes to refer to as Chicano Cuisine.

Enrique Olvera New York
In a city where certain people who&aposve figured out how to get diners to pay upwards of $10 per pretty basic taco are still held up as examples of how Mexican cooking has so greatly improved (it&aposs still really not great), let&aposs just call it a minor miracle that one of Mexico City&aposs top chefs was able to airlift in, open, and sustain not one, but two restaurants—the dreamy, very fine Cosme first, the more casual, but no less chic Atla, second. A true trendsetter, Olvera&aposs Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, was sending shockwaves around Mexico and the cooking world at a time when New Yorkers were still wrapping their heads around the guacamole at Dos Caminos.

Carlos Gaytan Chicago
Arriving in the Windy City at age 20 and working his way up from nowhere, Gaytan opened Mexique in 2008, becoming the first Mexican chef to ever go home with their own Michelin star, back in 2013. In true Midwest style, he&aposs still at it, applying classic technique to Mexican flavors both familiar and unfamiliar—it&aposs fine dining, but in a cozy spot just far enough from the heavily-touristed downtown and the so-hot-right-now dining scene to the west, that almost it feels like the terrific neighborhood joint every American neighborhood deserves.

Ricardo Diaz Whittier, Calif.
A pioneer of what Esparza refers to as Alta California cuisine, Diaz helped make the old-school taco de guisado a Los Angeles hipster must-have (Guisados), he made the Mexican torta a thing you go to the deli for, just like you would an Italian sub (Cook&aposs Torta&aposs), and he started turned an old-school mariscos joint in a quiet suburb into a banging Mexican gastropub of sorts (Bizarra Capital). "He introduced the notion that Mexican American cuisine could be contemporary, and not just something that you&aposve brought back from Mexico," says Esparza. "He took the Mexican-American voice, and the way we eat, into a restaurant."

Gabriela Cámara San Francisco
Every food tourist that makes their way to Mexico City either goes to Contramar or is, at the very least told to go to Contramar, Cámara&aposs famed, upscale casual seafood spot in the Roma Norte neighborhood—what many of them might not know is that they could also just go to San Francisco, where she&aposs run one of the country&aposs top Mexican restaurants, Cála, since 2015. A celebration of seafood, just like Contramar, things are perhaps even more elevated, more daring, more modern here—not that you&aposve got to sit down for the full treatment there&aposs a taco window out in the alley, too.

Ray Garcia Los Angeles
A native Angeleno, Garcia&aposs Broken Spanish𠅊nd its much-lauded elevations of humble staples like the chicharron—is a fine-dining star of the nascent Alta California cuisine opening a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was quite the scene change for Garcia, who previously helmed a very different restaurant altogether at a hotel in Santa Monica. His leap into the future appears to have paid off there&aposs even a casual spin-off, the daring (some might say slightly tweaked) B.S. Taqueria, a few blocks away.

Diego Hernandez Los Angeles
Another top chef from south of the border, this time just south of it, Hernandez became world-famous for his bold, tasting-menu restaurant𠅌orazón de Tierra—located on a beautiful piece of lan in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine region, just an hour or so from San Diego. After landing a spot on the Latin America&aposs 50 Best Restaurants list, Hernandez is now bringing his ultra-modern style to a particularly upmarket patch of Los Angeles. The going hasn&apost been smooth, but there&aposs promise. :A bumpy start in Los Angeles shouldn&apost take away from his accomplishment, anymore than any other chef that&aposs had challenges, which is most of them," says Esparza. "Hernandez is still a badass, great chef and I have no doubt he&aposll figure things out."

Eduardo Ruiz Los Angeles
Known best as the guy who got people to drive from all over Southern California to the working-class suburb of Bell to eat dinner—Ruiz&apos Pan-Latin Corazon y Miel was a smash hit, in its time—he&aposs now working with others on two very different concepts, Chica&aposs Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles, and on the menu at Public Beer & Wine, a very Long Beach-y spot in Long Beach, but probably one of the few craft beer-crazed bars where you can order proper, slow-cooked barbacoa.

Silvana Salcido Esparza Phoenix
Almost a household name in the Valley of the Sun at this point, the self-described creator of comida chingona (for the sake of politeness, let&aposs just say that means something like &aposbad-ass food&apos) first reeled in Phoenicians with her homey, familiar cooking at Barrio Café, followed by subsequent spin-offs—now, she&aposs kicked things into high-gear with the recently-opened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a home for thoroughly modern Mexican cooking. Once again, Phoenix is in love.


Meet The 10 Best Mexican Chefs in The United States Right Now

We asked the country's foremost expert on Mexican food to tell us about the innovators driving the cuisine forward in the United States today.

You don&apost just sit down with Bill Esparza for a quick chat—talking to America&aposs most knowledgeable writer on the subject of Mexican food is something that can stretch out into hours, sometimes a whole day. He is a man who always seems to have a lot on his mind, and not just about food, but the politics of the stuff, too𠅎verything, really, that we talk about, when we talk about food in America today. Its origins, the evolution, the contribution that immigrants have made and continue to make, the concepts of cultural appropriation, the various people caught in shameless acts of Columbusing—it&aposs typically a lot at once, but it&aposs always exhilarating, and you&aposre always left wanting more.

It&aposs not like he can&apost talk about anything else𠅎sparza had another, fascinating life in the music business, before he decided to delve into food blogging. He eventually worked his way up to become the go-to on the subject not only of Mexican food, but of all types of Latin American cooking, in a city that&aposs positively drowning in the stuff. After years of covering the scene for everyone and anyone, after hosting juried taco festivals and making countless media appearances, Esparza, probably one of very few people who could annoy Rick Bayless enough to get blocked by him on Twitter, has finally put out his first book.

The subject, you might have already guessed. Called "L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places," the richly visual tome is a love letter to the heritage, present and continued evolution of Mexican cooking in Los Angeles. On a recent morning, I managed to track him down to ask him a question that I&aposm guessing he&aposs only too happy to answer: Who are the best, most interesting, most innovative Mexican chefs, working in America right now? Whom do we go to, to taste and see the future of Mexican food in the United States? After about an hour and a half, we got something approximating a list. Ready? Let&aposs take a ride.

Wes Avila Los Angeles
"Wes is the liberator of the modern Mexican taco," says Esparza of one of the country&aposs most innovative taqueros still working out of a truck. (Avila will soon open his first brick-and-mortar, in LA&aposs Arts District.) "He&aposs created a whole new style. which is hard on such a simple canvas as a tortilla. Other people had used tweezers on tacos before, but never to create something so delicious, so interesting. His style is fully formed, everyone else is in development. Avila took a short time to develop his own unique style. How many people have done that?"

Carlos Salgado Costa Mesa, Calif.
There&aposs a reason why Taco Maria, a snug, tasting-menu focused joint roughly an hour from most places in Los Angeles took the number five spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold&aposs 101 Best Restaurants list, just out this week—Salgado is just that good. An Orange County native, he first blipped on the radar of SoCal diners after launching a taco truck back in 2011, his (to most eyes) illogical follow-up to decade or more of toiling in various Michelin-starred (Coi, Commis) kitchens up in the Bay Area. The truck begat the sleek little fine-dining spot where you find him today, and while you can still get tacos here, it&aposs really all about the four-course prix-fixe menu of what Salgado likes to refer to as Chicano Cuisine.

Enrique Olvera New York
In a city where certain people who&aposve figured out how to get diners to pay upwards of $10 per pretty basic taco are still held up as examples of how Mexican cooking has so greatly improved (it&aposs still really not great), let&aposs just call it a minor miracle that one of Mexico City&aposs top chefs was able to airlift in, open, and sustain not one, but two restaurants—the dreamy, very fine Cosme first, the more casual, but no less chic Atla, second. A true trendsetter, Olvera&aposs Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, was sending shockwaves around Mexico and the cooking world at a time when New Yorkers were still wrapping their heads around the guacamole at Dos Caminos.

Carlos Gaytan Chicago
Arriving in the Windy City at age 20 and working his way up from nowhere, Gaytan opened Mexique in 2008, becoming the first Mexican chef to ever go home with their own Michelin star, back in 2013. In true Midwest style, he&aposs still at it, applying classic technique to Mexican flavors both familiar and unfamiliar—it&aposs fine dining, but in a cozy spot just far enough from the heavily-touristed downtown and the so-hot-right-now dining scene to the west, that almost it feels like the terrific neighborhood joint every American neighborhood deserves.

Ricardo Diaz Whittier, Calif.
A pioneer of what Esparza refers to as Alta California cuisine, Diaz helped make the old-school taco de guisado a Los Angeles hipster must-have (Guisados), he made the Mexican torta a thing you go to the deli for, just like you would an Italian sub (Cook&aposs Torta&aposs), and he started turned an old-school mariscos joint in a quiet suburb into a banging Mexican gastropub of sorts (Bizarra Capital). "He introduced the notion that Mexican American cuisine could be contemporary, and not just something that you&aposve brought back from Mexico," says Esparza. "He took the Mexican-American voice, and the way we eat, into a restaurant."

Gabriela Cámara San Francisco
Every food tourist that makes their way to Mexico City either goes to Contramar or is, at the very least told to go to Contramar, Cámara&aposs famed, upscale casual seafood spot in the Roma Norte neighborhood—what many of them might not know is that they could also just go to San Francisco, where she&aposs run one of the country&aposs top Mexican restaurants, Cála, since 2015. A celebration of seafood, just like Contramar, things are perhaps even more elevated, more daring, more modern here—not that you&aposve got to sit down for the full treatment there&aposs a taco window out in the alley, too.

Ray Garcia Los Angeles
A native Angeleno, Garcia&aposs Broken Spanish𠅊nd its much-lauded elevations of humble staples like the chicharron—is a fine-dining star of the nascent Alta California cuisine opening a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was quite the scene change for Garcia, who previously helmed a very different restaurant altogether at a hotel in Santa Monica. His leap into the future appears to have paid off there&aposs even a casual spin-off, the daring (some might say slightly tweaked) B.S. Taqueria, a few blocks away.

Diego Hernandez Los Angeles
Another top chef from south of the border, this time just south of it, Hernandez became world-famous for his bold, tasting-menu restaurant𠅌orazón de Tierra—located on a beautiful piece of lan in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine region, just an hour or so from San Diego. After landing a spot on the Latin America&aposs 50 Best Restaurants list, Hernandez is now bringing his ultra-modern style to a particularly upmarket patch of Los Angeles. The going hasn&apost been smooth, but there&aposs promise. :A bumpy start in Los Angeles shouldn&apost take away from his accomplishment, anymore than any other chef that&aposs had challenges, which is most of them," says Esparza. "Hernandez is still a badass, great chef and I have no doubt he&aposll figure things out."

Eduardo Ruiz Los Angeles
Known best as the guy who got people to drive from all over Southern California to the working-class suburb of Bell to eat dinner—Ruiz&apos Pan-Latin Corazon y Miel was a smash hit, in its time—he&aposs now working with others on two very different concepts, Chica&aposs Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles, and on the menu at Public Beer & Wine, a very Long Beach-y spot in Long Beach, but probably one of the few craft beer-crazed bars where you can order proper, slow-cooked barbacoa.

Silvana Salcido Esparza Phoenix
Almost a household name in the Valley of the Sun at this point, the self-described creator of comida chingona (for the sake of politeness, let&aposs just say that means something like &aposbad-ass food&apos) first reeled in Phoenicians with her homey, familiar cooking at Barrio Café, followed by subsequent spin-offs—now, she&aposs kicked things into high-gear with the recently-opened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a home for thoroughly modern Mexican cooking. Once again, Phoenix is in love.


Meet The 10 Best Mexican Chefs in The United States Right Now

We asked the country's foremost expert on Mexican food to tell us about the innovators driving the cuisine forward in the United States today.

You don&apost just sit down with Bill Esparza for a quick chat—talking to America&aposs most knowledgeable writer on the subject of Mexican food is something that can stretch out into hours, sometimes a whole day. He is a man who always seems to have a lot on his mind, and not just about food, but the politics of the stuff, too𠅎verything, really, that we talk about, when we talk about food in America today. Its origins, the evolution, the contribution that immigrants have made and continue to make, the concepts of cultural appropriation, the various people caught in shameless acts of Columbusing—it&aposs typically a lot at once, but it&aposs always exhilarating, and you&aposre always left wanting more.

It&aposs not like he can&apost talk about anything else𠅎sparza had another, fascinating life in the music business, before he decided to delve into food blogging. He eventually worked his way up to become the go-to on the subject not only of Mexican food, but of all types of Latin American cooking, in a city that&aposs positively drowning in the stuff. After years of covering the scene for everyone and anyone, after hosting juried taco festivals and making countless media appearances, Esparza, probably one of very few people who could annoy Rick Bayless enough to get blocked by him on Twitter, has finally put out his first book.

The subject, you might have already guessed. Called "L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places," the richly visual tome is a love letter to the heritage, present and continued evolution of Mexican cooking in Los Angeles. On a recent morning, I managed to track him down to ask him a question that I&aposm guessing he&aposs only too happy to answer: Who are the best, most interesting, most innovative Mexican chefs, working in America right now? Whom do we go to, to taste and see the future of Mexican food in the United States? After about an hour and a half, we got something approximating a list. Ready? Let&aposs take a ride.

Wes Avila Los Angeles
"Wes is the liberator of the modern Mexican taco," says Esparza of one of the country&aposs most innovative taqueros still working out of a truck. (Avila will soon open his first brick-and-mortar, in LA&aposs Arts District.) "He&aposs created a whole new style. which is hard on such a simple canvas as a tortilla. Other people had used tweezers on tacos before, but never to create something so delicious, so interesting. His style is fully formed, everyone else is in development. Avila took a short time to develop his own unique style. How many people have done that?"

Carlos Salgado Costa Mesa, Calif.
There&aposs a reason why Taco Maria, a snug, tasting-menu focused joint roughly an hour from most places in Los Angeles took the number five spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold&aposs 101 Best Restaurants list, just out this week—Salgado is just that good. An Orange County native, he first blipped on the radar of SoCal diners after launching a taco truck back in 2011, his (to most eyes) illogical follow-up to decade or more of toiling in various Michelin-starred (Coi, Commis) kitchens up in the Bay Area. The truck begat the sleek little fine-dining spot where you find him today, and while you can still get tacos here, it&aposs really all about the four-course prix-fixe menu of what Salgado likes to refer to as Chicano Cuisine.

Enrique Olvera New York
In a city where certain people who&aposve figured out how to get diners to pay upwards of $10 per pretty basic taco are still held up as examples of how Mexican cooking has so greatly improved (it&aposs still really not great), let&aposs just call it a minor miracle that one of Mexico City&aposs top chefs was able to airlift in, open, and sustain not one, but two restaurants—the dreamy, very fine Cosme first, the more casual, but no less chic Atla, second. A true trendsetter, Olvera&aposs Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, was sending shockwaves around Mexico and the cooking world at a time when New Yorkers were still wrapping their heads around the guacamole at Dos Caminos.

Carlos Gaytan Chicago
Arriving in the Windy City at age 20 and working his way up from nowhere, Gaytan opened Mexique in 2008, becoming the first Mexican chef to ever go home with their own Michelin star, back in 2013. In true Midwest style, he&aposs still at it, applying classic technique to Mexican flavors both familiar and unfamiliar—it&aposs fine dining, but in a cozy spot just far enough from the heavily-touristed downtown and the so-hot-right-now dining scene to the west, that almost it feels like the terrific neighborhood joint every American neighborhood deserves.

Ricardo Diaz Whittier, Calif.
A pioneer of what Esparza refers to as Alta California cuisine, Diaz helped make the old-school taco de guisado a Los Angeles hipster must-have (Guisados), he made the Mexican torta a thing you go to the deli for, just like you would an Italian sub (Cook&aposs Torta&aposs), and he started turned an old-school mariscos joint in a quiet suburb into a banging Mexican gastropub of sorts (Bizarra Capital). "He introduced the notion that Mexican American cuisine could be contemporary, and not just something that you&aposve brought back from Mexico," says Esparza. "He took the Mexican-American voice, and the way we eat, into a restaurant."

Gabriela Cámara San Francisco
Every food tourist that makes their way to Mexico City either goes to Contramar or is, at the very least told to go to Contramar, Cámara&aposs famed, upscale casual seafood spot in the Roma Norte neighborhood—what many of them might not know is that they could also just go to San Francisco, where she&aposs run one of the country&aposs top Mexican restaurants, Cála, since 2015. A celebration of seafood, just like Contramar, things are perhaps even more elevated, more daring, more modern here—not that you&aposve got to sit down for the full treatment there&aposs a taco window out in the alley, too.

Ray Garcia Los Angeles
A native Angeleno, Garcia&aposs Broken Spanish𠅊nd its much-lauded elevations of humble staples like the chicharron—is a fine-dining star of the nascent Alta California cuisine opening a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was quite the scene change for Garcia, who previously helmed a very different restaurant altogether at a hotel in Santa Monica. His leap into the future appears to have paid off there&aposs even a casual spin-off, the daring (some might say slightly tweaked) B.S. Taqueria, a few blocks away.

Diego Hernandez Los Angeles
Another top chef from south of the border, this time just south of it, Hernandez became world-famous for his bold, tasting-menu restaurant𠅌orazón de Tierra—located on a beautiful piece of lan in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine region, just an hour or so from San Diego. After landing a spot on the Latin America&aposs 50 Best Restaurants list, Hernandez is now bringing his ultra-modern style to a particularly upmarket patch of Los Angeles. The going hasn&apost been smooth, but there&aposs promise. :A bumpy start in Los Angeles shouldn&apost take away from his accomplishment, anymore than any other chef that&aposs had challenges, which is most of them," says Esparza. "Hernandez is still a badass, great chef and I have no doubt he&aposll figure things out."

Eduardo Ruiz Los Angeles
Known best as the guy who got people to drive from all over Southern California to the working-class suburb of Bell to eat dinner—Ruiz&apos Pan-Latin Corazon y Miel was a smash hit, in its time—he&aposs now working with others on two very different concepts, Chica&aposs Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles, and on the menu at Public Beer & Wine, a very Long Beach-y spot in Long Beach, but probably one of the few craft beer-crazed bars where you can order proper, slow-cooked barbacoa.

Silvana Salcido Esparza Phoenix
Almost a household name in the Valley of the Sun at this point, the self-described creator of comida chingona (for the sake of politeness, let&aposs just say that means something like &aposbad-ass food&apos) first reeled in Phoenicians with her homey, familiar cooking at Barrio Café, followed by subsequent spin-offs—now, she&aposs kicked things into high-gear with the recently-opened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a home for thoroughly modern Mexican cooking. Once again, Phoenix is in love.


Meet The 10 Best Mexican Chefs in The United States Right Now

We asked the country's foremost expert on Mexican food to tell us about the innovators driving the cuisine forward in the United States today.

You don&apost just sit down with Bill Esparza for a quick chat—talking to America&aposs most knowledgeable writer on the subject of Mexican food is something that can stretch out into hours, sometimes a whole day. He is a man who always seems to have a lot on his mind, and not just about food, but the politics of the stuff, too𠅎verything, really, that we talk about, when we talk about food in America today. Its origins, the evolution, the contribution that immigrants have made and continue to make, the concepts of cultural appropriation, the various people caught in shameless acts of Columbusing—it&aposs typically a lot at once, but it&aposs always exhilarating, and you&aposre always left wanting more.

It&aposs not like he can&apost talk about anything else𠅎sparza had another, fascinating life in the music business, before he decided to delve into food blogging. He eventually worked his way up to become the go-to on the subject not only of Mexican food, but of all types of Latin American cooking, in a city that&aposs positively drowning in the stuff. After years of covering the scene for everyone and anyone, after hosting juried taco festivals and making countless media appearances, Esparza, probably one of very few people who could annoy Rick Bayless enough to get blocked by him on Twitter, has finally put out his first book.

The subject, you might have already guessed. Called "L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places," the richly visual tome is a love letter to the heritage, present and continued evolution of Mexican cooking in Los Angeles. On a recent morning, I managed to track him down to ask him a question that I&aposm guessing he&aposs only too happy to answer: Who are the best, most interesting, most innovative Mexican chefs, working in America right now? Whom do we go to, to taste and see the future of Mexican food in the United States? After about an hour and a half, we got something approximating a list. Ready? Let&aposs take a ride.

Wes Avila Los Angeles
"Wes is the liberator of the modern Mexican taco," says Esparza of one of the country&aposs most innovative taqueros still working out of a truck. (Avila will soon open his first brick-and-mortar, in LA&aposs Arts District.) "He&aposs created a whole new style. which is hard on such a simple canvas as a tortilla. Other people had used tweezers on tacos before, but never to create something so delicious, so interesting. His style is fully formed, everyone else is in development. Avila took a short time to develop his own unique style. How many people have done that?"

Carlos Salgado Costa Mesa, Calif.
There&aposs a reason why Taco Maria, a snug, tasting-menu focused joint roughly an hour from most places in Los Angeles took the number five spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold&aposs 101 Best Restaurants list, just out this week—Salgado is just that good. An Orange County native, he first blipped on the radar of SoCal diners after launching a taco truck back in 2011, his (to most eyes) illogical follow-up to decade or more of toiling in various Michelin-starred (Coi, Commis) kitchens up in the Bay Area. The truck begat the sleek little fine-dining spot where you find him today, and while you can still get tacos here, it&aposs really all about the four-course prix-fixe menu of what Salgado likes to refer to as Chicano Cuisine.

Enrique Olvera New York
In a city where certain people who&aposve figured out how to get diners to pay upwards of $10 per pretty basic taco are still held up as examples of how Mexican cooking has so greatly improved (it&aposs still really not great), let&aposs just call it a minor miracle that one of Mexico City&aposs top chefs was able to airlift in, open, and sustain not one, but two restaurants—the dreamy, very fine Cosme first, the more casual, but no less chic Atla, second. A true trendsetter, Olvera&aposs Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, was sending shockwaves around Mexico and the cooking world at a time when New Yorkers were still wrapping their heads around the guacamole at Dos Caminos.

Carlos Gaytan Chicago
Arriving in the Windy City at age 20 and working his way up from nowhere, Gaytan opened Mexique in 2008, becoming the first Mexican chef to ever go home with their own Michelin star, back in 2013. In true Midwest style, he&aposs still at it, applying classic technique to Mexican flavors both familiar and unfamiliar—it&aposs fine dining, but in a cozy spot just far enough from the heavily-touristed downtown and the so-hot-right-now dining scene to the west, that almost it feels like the terrific neighborhood joint every American neighborhood deserves.

Ricardo Diaz Whittier, Calif.
A pioneer of what Esparza refers to as Alta California cuisine, Diaz helped make the old-school taco de guisado a Los Angeles hipster must-have (Guisados), he made the Mexican torta a thing you go to the deli for, just like you would an Italian sub (Cook&aposs Torta&aposs), and he started turned an old-school mariscos joint in a quiet suburb into a banging Mexican gastropub of sorts (Bizarra Capital). "He introduced the notion that Mexican American cuisine could be contemporary, and not just something that you&aposve brought back from Mexico," says Esparza. "He took the Mexican-American voice, and the way we eat, into a restaurant."

Gabriela Cámara San Francisco
Every food tourist that makes their way to Mexico City either goes to Contramar or is, at the very least told to go to Contramar, Cámara&aposs famed, upscale casual seafood spot in the Roma Norte neighborhood—what many of them might not know is that they could also just go to San Francisco, where she&aposs run one of the country&aposs top Mexican restaurants, Cála, since 2015. A celebration of seafood, just like Contramar, things are perhaps even more elevated, more daring, more modern here—not that you&aposve got to sit down for the full treatment there&aposs a taco window out in the alley, too.

Ray Garcia Los Angeles
A native Angeleno, Garcia&aposs Broken Spanish𠅊nd its much-lauded elevations of humble staples like the chicharron—is a fine-dining star of the nascent Alta California cuisine opening a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was quite the scene change for Garcia, who previously helmed a very different restaurant altogether at a hotel in Santa Monica. His leap into the future appears to have paid off there&aposs even a casual spin-off, the daring (some might say slightly tweaked) B.S. Taqueria, a few blocks away.

Diego Hernandez Los Angeles
Another top chef from south of the border, this time just south of it, Hernandez became world-famous for his bold, tasting-menu restaurant𠅌orazón de Tierra—located on a beautiful piece of lan in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine region, just an hour or so from San Diego. After landing a spot on the Latin America&aposs 50 Best Restaurants list, Hernandez is now bringing his ultra-modern style to a particularly upmarket patch of Los Angeles. The going hasn&apost been smooth, but there&aposs promise. :A bumpy start in Los Angeles shouldn&apost take away from his accomplishment, anymore than any other chef that&aposs had challenges, which is most of them," says Esparza. "Hernandez is still a badass, great chef and I have no doubt he&aposll figure things out."

Eduardo Ruiz Los Angeles
Known best as the guy who got people to drive from all over Southern California to the working-class suburb of Bell to eat dinner—Ruiz&apos Pan-Latin Corazon y Miel was a smash hit, in its time—he&aposs now working with others on two very different concepts, Chica&aposs Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles, and on the menu at Public Beer & Wine, a very Long Beach-y spot in Long Beach, but probably one of the few craft beer-crazed bars where you can order proper, slow-cooked barbacoa.

Silvana Salcido Esparza Phoenix
Almost a household name in the Valley of the Sun at this point, the self-described creator of comida chingona (for the sake of politeness, let&aposs just say that means something like &aposbad-ass food&apos) first reeled in Phoenicians with her homey, familiar cooking at Barrio Café, followed by subsequent spin-offs—now, she&aposs kicked things into high-gear with the recently-opened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a home for thoroughly modern Mexican cooking. Once again, Phoenix is in love.


Meet The 10 Best Mexican Chefs in The United States Right Now

We asked the country's foremost expert on Mexican food to tell us about the innovators driving the cuisine forward in the United States today.

You don&apost just sit down with Bill Esparza for a quick chat—talking to America&aposs most knowledgeable writer on the subject of Mexican food is something that can stretch out into hours, sometimes a whole day. He is a man who always seems to have a lot on his mind, and not just about food, but the politics of the stuff, too𠅎verything, really, that we talk about, when we talk about food in America today. Its origins, the evolution, the contribution that immigrants have made and continue to make, the concepts of cultural appropriation, the various people caught in shameless acts of Columbusing—it&aposs typically a lot at once, but it&aposs always exhilarating, and you&aposre always left wanting more.

It&aposs not like he can&apost talk about anything else𠅎sparza had another, fascinating life in the music business, before he decided to delve into food blogging. He eventually worked his way up to become the go-to on the subject not only of Mexican food, but of all types of Latin American cooking, in a city that&aposs positively drowning in the stuff. After years of covering the scene for everyone and anyone, after hosting juried taco festivals and making countless media appearances, Esparza, probably one of very few people who could annoy Rick Bayless enough to get blocked by him on Twitter, has finally put out his first book.

The subject, you might have already guessed. Called "L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places," the richly visual tome is a love letter to the heritage, present and continued evolution of Mexican cooking in Los Angeles. On a recent morning, I managed to track him down to ask him a question that I&aposm guessing he&aposs only too happy to answer: Who are the best, most interesting, most innovative Mexican chefs, working in America right now? Whom do we go to, to taste and see the future of Mexican food in the United States? After about an hour and a half, we got something approximating a list. Ready? Let&aposs take a ride.

Wes Avila Los Angeles
"Wes is the liberator of the modern Mexican taco," says Esparza of one of the country&aposs most innovative taqueros still working out of a truck. (Avila will soon open his first brick-and-mortar, in LA&aposs Arts District.) "He&aposs created a whole new style. which is hard on such a simple canvas as a tortilla. Other people had used tweezers on tacos before, but never to create something so delicious, so interesting. His style is fully formed, everyone else is in development. Avila took a short time to develop his own unique style. How many people have done that?"

Carlos Salgado Costa Mesa, Calif.
There&aposs a reason why Taco Maria, a snug, tasting-menu focused joint roughly an hour from most places in Los Angeles took the number five spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold&aposs 101 Best Restaurants list, just out this week—Salgado is just that good. An Orange County native, he first blipped on the radar of SoCal diners after launching a taco truck back in 2011, his (to most eyes) illogical follow-up to decade or more of toiling in various Michelin-starred (Coi, Commis) kitchens up in the Bay Area. The truck begat the sleek little fine-dining spot where you find him today, and while you can still get tacos here, it&aposs really all about the four-course prix-fixe menu of what Salgado likes to refer to as Chicano Cuisine.

Enrique Olvera New York
In a city where certain people who&aposve figured out how to get diners to pay upwards of $10 per pretty basic taco are still held up as examples of how Mexican cooking has so greatly improved (it&aposs still really not great), let&aposs just call it a minor miracle that one of Mexico City&aposs top chefs was able to airlift in, open, and sustain not one, but two restaurants—the dreamy, very fine Cosme first, the more casual, but no less chic Atla, second. A true trendsetter, Olvera&aposs Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, was sending shockwaves around Mexico and the cooking world at a time when New Yorkers were still wrapping their heads around the guacamole at Dos Caminos.

Carlos Gaytan Chicago
Arriving in the Windy City at age 20 and working his way up from nowhere, Gaytan opened Mexique in 2008, becoming the first Mexican chef to ever go home with their own Michelin star, back in 2013. In true Midwest style, he&aposs still at it, applying classic technique to Mexican flavors both familiar and unfamiliar—it&aposs fine dining, but in a cozy spot just far enough from the heavily-touristed downtown and the so-hot-right-now dining scene to the west, that almost it feels like the terrific neighborhood joint every American neighborhood deserves.

Ricardo Diaz Whittier, Calif.
A pioneer of what Esparza refers to as Alta California cuisine, Diaz helped make the old-school taco de guisado a Los Angeles hipster must-have (Guisados), he made the Mexican torta a thing you go to the deli for, just like you would an Italian sub (Cook&aposs Torta&aposs), and he started turned an old-school mariscos joint in a quiet suburb into a banging Mexican gastropub of sorts (Bizarra Capital). "He introduced the notion that Mexican American cuisine could be contemporary, and not just something that you&aposve brought back from Mexico," says Esparza. "He took the Mexican-American voice, and the way we eat, into a restaurant."

Gabriela Cámara San Francisco
Every food tourist that makes their way to Mexico City either goes to Contramar or is, at the very least told to go to Contramar, Cámara&aposs famed, upscale casual seafood spot in the Roma Norte neighborhood—what many of them might not know is that they could also just go to San Francisco, where she&aposs run one of the country&aposs top Mexican restaurants, Cála, since 2015. A celebration of seafood, just like Contramar, things are perhaps even more elevated, more daring, more modern here—not that you&aposve got to sit down for the full treatment there&aposs a taco window out in the alley, too.

Ray Garcia Los Angeles
A native Angeleno, Garcia&aposs Broken Spanish𠅊nd its much-lauded elevations of humble staples like the chicharron—is a fine-dining star of the nascent Alta California cuisine opening a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was quite the scene change for Garcia, who previously helmed a very different restaurant altogether at a hotel in Santa Monica. His leap into the future appears to have paid off there&aposs even a casual spin-off, the daring (some might say slightly tweaked) B.S. Taqueria, a few blocks away.

Diego Hernandez Los Angeles
Another top chef from south of the border, this time just south of it, Hernandez became world-famous for his bold, tasting-menu restaurant𠅌orazón de Tierra—located on a beautiful piece of lan in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine region, just an hour or so from San Diego. After landing a spot on the Latin America&aposs 50 Best Restaurants list, Hernandez is now bringing his ultra-modern style to a particularly upmarket patch of Los Angeles. The going hasn&apost been smooth, but there&aposs promise. :A bumpy start in Los Angeles shouldn&apost take away from his accomplishment, anymore than any other chef that&aposs had challenges, which is most of them," says Esparza. "Hernandez is still a badass, great chef and I have no doubt he&aposll figure things out."

Eduardo Ruiz Los Angeles
Known best as the guy who got people to drive from all over Southern California to the working-class suburb of Bell to eat dinner—Ruiz&apos Pan-Latin Corazon y Miel was a smash hit, in its time—he&aposs now working with others on two very different concepts, Chica&aposs Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles, and on the menu at Public Beer & Wine, a very Long Beach-y spot in Long Beach, but probably one of the few craft beer-crazed bars where you can order proper, slow-cooked barbacoa.

Silvana Salcido Esparza Phoenix
Almost a household name in the Valley of the Sun at this point, the self-described creator of comida chingona (for the sake of politeness, let&aposs just say that means something like &aposbad-ass food&apos) first reeled in Phoenicians with her homey, familiar cooking at Barrio Café, followed by subsequent spin-offs—now, she&aposs kicked things into high-gear with the recently-opened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a home for thoroughly modern Mexican cooking. Once again, Phoenix is in love.


Meet The 10 Best Mexican Chefs in The United States Right Now

We asked the country's foremost expert on Mexican food to tell us about the innovators driving the cuisine forward in the United States today.

You don&apost just sit down with Bill Esparza for a quick chat—talking to America&aposs most knowledgeable writer on the subject of Mexican food is something that can stretch out into hours, sometimes a whole day. He is a man who always seems to have a lot on his mind, and not just about food, but the politics of the stuff, too𠅎verything, really, that we talk about, when we talk about food in America today. Its origins, the evolution, the contribution that immigrants have made and continue to make, the concepts of cultural appropriation, the various people caught in shameless acts of Columbusing—it&aposs typically a lot at once, but it&aposs always exhilarating, and you&aposre always left wanting more.

It&aposs not like he can&apost talk about anything else𠅎sparza had another, fascinating life in the music business, before he decided to delve into food blogging. He eventually worked his way up to become the go-to on the subject not only of Mexican food, but of all types of Latin American cooking, in a city that&aposs positively drowning in the stuff. After years of covering the scene for everyone and anyone, after hosting juried taco festivals and making countless media appearances, Esparza, probably one of very few people who could annoy Rick Bayless enough to get blocked by him on Twitter, has finally put out his first book.

The subject, you might have already guessed. Called "L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places," the richly visual tome is a love letter to the heritage, present and continued evolution of Mexican cooking in Los Angeles. On a recent morning, I managed to track him down to ask him a question that I&aposm guessing he&aposs only too happy to answer: Who are the best, most interesting, most innovative Mexican chefs, working in America right now? Whom do we go to, to taste and see the future of Mexican food in the United States? After about an hour and a half, we got something approximating a list. Ready? Let&aposs take a ride.

Wes Avila Los Angeles
"Wes is the liberator of the modern Mexican taco," says Esparza of one of the country&aposs most innovative taqueros still working out of a truck. (Avila will soon open his first brick-and-mortar, in LA&aposs Arts District.) "He&aposs created a whole new style. which is hard on such a simple canvas as a tortilla. Other people had used tweezers on tacos before, but never to create something so delicious, so interesting. His style is fully formed, everyone else is in development. Avila took a short time to develop his own unique style. How many people have done that?"

Carlos Salgado Costa Mesa, Calif.
There&aposs a reason why Taco Maria, a snug, tasting-menu focused joint roughly an hour from most places in Los Angeles took the number five spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold&aposs 101 Best Restaurants list, just out this week—Salgado is just that good. An Orange County native, he first blipped on the radar of SoCal diners after launching a taco truck back in 2011, his (to most eyes) illogical follow-up to decade or more of toiling in various Michelin-starred (Coi, Commis) kitchens up in the Bay Area. The truck begat the sleek little fine-dining spot where you find him today, and while you can still get tacos here, it&aposs really all about the four-course prix-fixe menu of what Salgado likes to refer to as Chicano Cuisine.

Enrique Olvera New York
In a city where certain people who&aposve figured out how to get diners to pay upwards of $10 per pretty basic taco are still held up as examples of how Mexican cooking has so greatly improved (it&aposs still really not great), let&aposs just call it a minor miracle that one of Mexico City&aposs top chefs was able to airlift in, open, and sustain not one, but two restaurants—the dreamy, very fine Cosme first, the more casual, but no less chic Atla, second. A true trendsetter, Olvera&aposs Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, was sending shockwaves around Mexico and the cooking world at a time when New Yorkers were still wrapping their heads around the guacamole at Dos Caminos.

Carlos Gaytan Chicago
Arriving in the Windy City at age 20 and working his way up from nowhere, Gaytan opened Mexique in 2008, becoming the first Mexican chef to ever go home with their own Michelin star, back in 2013. In true Midwest style, he&aposs still at it, applying classic technique to Mexican flavors both familiar and unfamiliar—it&aposs fine dining, but in a cozy spot just far enough from the heavily-touristed downtown and the so-hot-right-now dining scene to the west, that almost it feels like the terrific neighborhood joint every American neighborhood deserves.

Ricardo Diaz Whittier, Calif.
A pioneer of what Esparza refers to as Alta California cuisine, Diaz helped make the old-school taco de guisado a Los Angeles hipster must-have (Guisados), he made the Mexican torta a thing you go to the deli for, just like you would an Italian sub (Cook&aposs Torta&aposs), and he started turned an old-school mariscos joint in a quiet suburb into a banging Mexican gastropub of sorts (Bizarra Capital). "He introduced the notion that Mexican American cuisine could be contemporary, and not just something that you&aposve brought back from Mexico," says Esparza. "He took the Mexican-American voice, and the way we eat, into a restaurant."

Gabriela Cámara San Francisco
Every food tourist that makes their way to Mexico City either goes to Contramar or is, at the very least told to go to Contramar, Cámara&aposs famed, upscale casual seafood spot in the Roma Norte neighborhood—what many of them might not know is that they could also just go to San Francisco, where she&aposs run one of the country&aposs top Mexican restaurants, Cála, since 2015. A celebration of seafood, just like Contramar, things are perhaps even more elevated, more daring, more modern here—not that you&aposve got to sit down for the full treatment there&aposs a taco window out in the alley, too.

Ray Garcia Los Angeles
A native Angeleno, Garcia&aposs Broken Spanish𠅊nd its much-lauded elevations of humble staples like the chicharron—is a fine-dining star of the nascent Alta California cuisine opening a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was quite the scene change for Garcia, who previously helmed a very different restaurant altogether at a hotel in Santa Monica. His leap into the future appears to have paid off there&aposs even a casual spin-off, the daring (some might say slightly tweaked) B.S. Taqueria, a few blocks away.

Diego Hernandez Los Angeles
Another top chef from south of the border, this time just south of it, Hernandez became world-famous for his bold, tasting-menu restaurant𠅌orazón de Tierra—located on a beautiful piece of lan in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine region, just an hour or so from San Diego. After landing a spot on the Latin America&aposs 50 Best Restaurants list, Hernandez is now bringing his ultra-modern style to a particularly upmarket patch of Los Angeles. The going hasn&apost been smooth, but there&aposs promise. :A bumpy start in Los Angeles shouldn&apost take away from his accomplishment, anymore than any other chef that&aposs had challenges, which is most of them," says Esparza. "Hernandez is still a badass, great chef and I have no doubt he&aposll figure things out."

Eduardo Ruiz Los Angeles
Known best as the guy who got people to drive from all over Southern California to the working-class suburb of Bell to eat dinner—Ruiz&apos Pan-Latin Corazon y Miel was a smash hit, in its time—he&aposs now working with others on two very different concepts, Chica&aposs Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles, and on the menu at Public Beer & Wine, a very Long Beach-y spot in Long Beach, but probably one of the few craft beer-crazed bars where you can order proper, slow-cooked barbacoa.

Silvana Salcido Esparza Phoenix
Almost a household name in the Valley of the Sun at this point, the self-described creator of comida chingona (for the sake of politeness, let&aposs just say that means something like &aposbad-ass food&apos) first reeled in Phoenicians with her homey, familiar cooking at Barrio Café, followed by subsequent spin-offs—now, she&aposs kicked things into high-gear with the recently-opened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a home for thoroughly modern Mexican cooking. Once again, Phoenix is in love.


Meet The 10 Best Mexican Chefs in The United States Right Now

We asked the country's foremost expert on Mexican food to tell us about the innovators driving the cuisine forward in the United States today.

You don&apost just sit down with Bill Esparza for a quick chat—talking to America&aposs most knowledgeable writer on the subject of Mexican food is something that can stretch out into hours, sometimes a whole day. He is a man who always seems to have a lot on his mind, and not just about food, but the politics of the stuff, too𠅎verything, really, that we talk about, when we talk about food in America today. Its origins, the evolution, the contribution that immigrants have made and continue to make, the concepts of cultural appropriation, the various people caught in shameless acts of Columbusing—it&aposs typically a lot at once, but it&aposs always exhilarating, and you&aposre always left wanting more.

It&aposs not like he can&apost talk about anything else𠅎sparza had another, fascinating life in the music business, before he decided to delve into food blogging. He eventually worked his way up to become the go-to on the subject not only of Mexican food, but of all types of Latin American cooking, in a city that&aposs positively drowning in the stuff. After years of covering the scene for everyone and anyone, after hosting juried taco festivals and making countless media appearances, Esparza, probably one of very few people who could annoy Rick Bayless enough to get blocked by him on Twitter, has finally put out his first book.

The subject, you might have already guessed. Called "L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places," the richly visual tome is a love letter to the heritage, present and continued evolution of Mexican cooking in Los Angeles. On a recent morning, I managed to track him down to ask him a question that I&aposm guessing he&aposs only too happy to answer: Who are the best, most interesting, most innovative Mexican chefs, working in America right now? Whom do we go to, to taste and see the future of Mexican food in the United States? After about an hour and a half, we got something approximating a list. Ready? Let&aposs take a ride.

Wes Avila Los Angeles
"Wes is the liberator of the modern Mexican taco," says Esparza of one of the country&aposs most innovative taqueros still working out of a truck. (Avila will soon open his first brick-and-mortar, in LA&aposs Arts District.) "He&aposs created a whole new style. which is hard on such a simple canvas as a tortilla. Other people had used tweezers on tacos before, but never to create something so delicious, so interesting. His style is fully formed, everyone else is in development. Avila took a short time to develop his own unique style. How many people have done that?"

Carlos Salgado Costa Mesa, Calif.
There&aposs a reason why Taco Maria, a snug, tasting-menu focused joint roughly an hour from most places in Los Angeles took the number five spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold&aposs 101 Best Restaurants list, just out this week—Salgado is just that good. An Orange County native, he first blipped on the radar of SoCal diners after launching a taco truck back in 2011, his (to most eyes) illogical follow-up to decade or more of toiling in various Michelin-starred (Coi, Commis) kitchens up in the Bay Area. The truck begat the sleek little fine-dining spot where you find him today, and while you can still get tacos here, it&aposs really all about the four-course prix-fixe menu of what Salgado likes to refer to as Chicano Cuisine.

Enrique Olvera New York
In a city where certain people who&aposve figured out how to get diners to pay upwards of $10 per pretty basic taco are still held up as examples of how Mexican cooking has so greatly improved (it&aposs still really not great), let&aposs just call it a minor miracle that one of Mexico City&aposs top chefs was able to airlift in, open, and sustain not one, but two restaurants—the dreamy, very fine Cosme first, the more casual, but no less chic Atla, second. A true trendsetter, Olvera&aposs Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, was sending shockwaves around Mexico and the cooking world at a time when New Yorkers were still wrapping their heads around the guacamole at Dos Caminos.

Carlos Gaytan Chicago
Arriving in the Windy City at age 20 and working his way up from nowhere, Gaytan opened Mexique in 2008, becoming the first Mexican chef to ever go home with their own Michelin star, back in 2013. In true Midwest style, he&aposs still at it, applying classic technique to Mexican flavors both familiar and unfamiliar—it&aposs fine dining, but in a cozy spot just far enough from the heavily-touristed downtown and the so-hot-right-now dining scene to the west, that almost it feels like the terrific neighborhood joint every American neighborhood deserves.

Ricardo Diaz Whittier, Calif.
A pioneer of what Esparza refers to as Alta California cuisine, Diaz helped make the old-school taco de guisado a Los Angeles hipster must-have (Guisados), he made the Mexican torta a thing you go to the deli for, just like you would an Italian sub (Cook&aposs Torta&aposs), and he started turned an old-school mariscos joint in a quiet suburb into a banging Mexican gastropub of sorts (Bizarra Capital). "He introduced the notion that Mexican American cuisine could be contemporary, and not just something that you&aposve brought back from Mexico," says Esparza. "He took the Mexican-American voice, and the way we eat, into a restaurant."

Gabriela Cámara San Francisco
Every food tourist that makes their way to Mexico City either goes to Contramar or is, at the very least told to go to Contramar, Cámara&aposs famed, upscale casual seafood spot in the Roma Norte neighborhood—what many of them might not know is that they could also just go to San Francisco, where she&aposs run one of the country&aposs top Mexican restaurants, Cála, since 2015. A celebration of seafood, just like Contramar, things are perhaps even more elevated, more daring, more modern here—not that you&aposve got to sit down for the full treatment there&aposs a taco window out in the alley, too.

Ray Garcia Los Angeles
A native Angeleno, Garcia&aposs Broken Spanish𠅊nd its much-lauded elevations of humble staples like the chicharron—is a fine-dining star of the nascent Alta California cuisine opening a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was quite the scene change for Garcia, who previously helmed a very different restaurant altogether at a hotel in Santa Monica. His leap into the future appears to have paid off there&aposs even a casual spin-off, the daring (some might say slightly tweaked) B.S. Taqueria, a few blocks away.

Diego Hernandez Los Angeles
Another top chef from south of the border, this time just south of it, Hernandez became world-famous for his bold, tasting-menu restaurant𠅌orazón de Tierra—located on a beautiful piece of lan in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine region, just an hour or so from San Diego. After landing a spot on the Latin America&aposs 50 Best Restaurants list, Hernandez is now bringing his ultra-modern style to a particularly upmarket patch of Los Angeles. The going hasn&apost been smooth, but there&aposs promise. :A bumpy start in Los Angeles shouldn&apost take away from his accomplishment, anymore than any other chef that&aposs had challenges, which is most of them," says Esparza. "Hernandez is still a badass, great chef and I have no doubt he&aposll figure things out."

Eduardo Ruiz Los Angeles
Known best as the guy who got people to drive from all over Southern California to the working-class suburb of Bell to eat dinner—Ruiz&apos Pan-Latin Corazon y Miel was a smash hit, in its time—he&aposs now working with others on two very different concepts, Chica&aposs Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles, and on the menu at Public Beer & Wine, a very Long Beach-y spot in Long Beach, but probably one of the few craft beer-crazed bars where you can order proper, slow-cooked barbacoa.

Silvana Salcido Esparza Phoenix
Almost a household name in the Valley of the Sun at this point, the self-described creator of comida chingona (for the sake of politeness, let&aposs just say that means something like &aposbad-ass food&apos) first reeled in Phoenicians with her homey, familiar cooking at Barrio Café, followed by subsequent spin-offs—now, she&aposs kicked things into high-gear with the recently-opened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a home for thoroughly modern Mexican cooking. Once again, Phoenix is in love.


Meet The 10 Best Mexican Chefs in The United States Right Now

We asked the country's foremost expert on Mexican food to tell us about the innovators driving the cuisine forward in the United States today.

You don&apost just sit down with Bill Esparza for a quick chat—talking to America&aposs most knowledgeable writer on the subject of Mexican food is something that can stretch out into hours, sometimes a whole day. He is a man who always seems to have a lot on his mind, and not just about food, but the politics of the stuff, too𠅎verything, really, that we talk about, when we talk about food in America today. Its origins, the evolution, the contribution that immigrants have made and continue to make, the concepts of cultural appropriation, the various people caught in shameless acts of Columbusing—it&aposs typically a lot at once, but it&aposs always exhilarating, and you&aposre always left wanting more.

It&aposs not like he can&apost talk about anything else𠅎sparza had another, fascinating life in the music business, before he decided to delve into food blogging. He eventually worked his way up to become the go-to on the subject not only of Mexican food, but of all types of Latin American cooking, in a city that&aposs positively drowning in the stuff. After years of covering the scene for everyone and anyone, after hosting juried taco festivals and making countless media appearances, Esparza, probably one of very few people who could annoy Rick Bayless enough to get blocked by him on Twitter, has finally put out his first book.

The subject, you might have already guessed. Called "L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places," the richly visual tome is a love letter to the heritage, present and continued evolution of Mexican cooking in Los Angeles. On a recent morning, I managed to track him down to ask him a question that I&aposm guessing he&aposs only too happy to answer: Who are the best, most interesting, most innovative Mexican chefs, working in America right now? Whom do we go to, to taste and see the future of Mexican food in the United States? After about an hour and a half, we got something approximating a list. Ready? Let&aposs take a ride.

Wes Avila Los Angeles
"Wes is the liberator of the modern Mexican taco," says Esparza of one of the country&aposs most innovative taqueros still working out of a truck. (Avila will soon open his first brick-and-mortar, in LA&aposs Arts District.) "He&aposs created a whole new style. which is hard on such a simple canvas as a tortilla. Other people had used tweezers on tacos before, but never to create something so delicious, so interesting. His style is fully formed, everyone else is in development. Avila took a short time to develop his own unique style. How many people have done that?"

Carlos Salgado Costa Mesa, Calif.
There&aposs a reason why Taco Maria, a snug, tasting-menu focused joint roughly an hour from most places in Los Angeles took the number five spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold&aposs 101 Best Restaurants list, just out this week—Salgado is just that good. An Orange County native, he first blipped on the radar of SoCal diners after launching a taco truck back in 2011, his (to most eyes) illogical follow-up to decade or more of toiling in various Michelin-starred (Coi, Commis) kitchens up in the Bay Area. The truck begat the sleek little fine-dining spot where you find him today, and while you can still get tacos here, it&aposs really all about the four-course prix-fixe menu of what Salgado likes to refer to as Chicano Cuisine.

Enrique Olvera New York
In a city where certain people who&aposve figured out how to get diners to pay upwards of $10 per pretty basic taco are still held up as examples of how Mexican cooking has so greatly improved (it&aposs still really not great), let&aposs just call it a minor miracle that one of Mexico City&aposs top chefs was able to airlift in, open, and sustain not one, but two restaurants—the dreamy, very fine Cosme first, the more casual, but no less chic Atla, second. A true trendsetter, Olvera&aposs Mexico City restaurant, Pujol, was sending shockwaves around Mexico and the cooking world at a time when New Yorkers were still wrapping their heads around the guacamole at Dos Caminos.

Carlos Gaytan Chicago
Arriving in the Windy City at age 20 and working his way up from nowhere, Gaytan opened Mexique in 2008, becoming the first Mexican chef to ever go home with their own Michelin star, back in 2013. In true Midwest style, he&aposs still at it, applying classic technique to Mexican flavors both familiar and unfamiliar—it&aposs fine dining, but in a cozy spot just far enough from the heavily-touristed downtown and the so-hot-right-now dining scene to the west, that almost it feels like the terrific neighborhood joint every American neighborhood deserves.

Ricardo Diaz Whittier, Calif.
A pioneer of what Esparza refers to as Alta California cuisine, Diaz helped make the old-school taco de guisado a Los Angeles hipster must-have (Guisados), he made the Mexican torta a thing you go to the deli for, just like you would an Italian sub (Cook&aposs Torta&aposs), and he started turned an old-school mariscos joint in a quiet suburb into a banging Mexican gastropub of sorts (Bizarra Capital). "He introduced the notion that Mexican American cuisine could be contemporary, and not just something that you&aposve brought back from Mexico," says Esparza. "He took the Mexican-American voice, and the way we eat, into a restaurant."

Gabriela Cámara San Francisco
Every food tourist that makes their way to Mexico City either goes to Contramar or is, at the very least told to go to Contramar, Cámara&aposs famed, upscale casual seafood spot in the Roma Norte neighborhood—what many of them might not know is that they could also just go to San Francisco, where she&aposs run one of the country&aposs top Mexican restaurants, Cála, since 2015. A celebration of seafood, just like Contramar, things are perhaps even more elevated, more daring, more modern here—not that you&aposve got to sit down for the full treatment there&aposs a taco window out in the alley, too.

Ray Garcia Los Angeles
A native Angeleno, Garcia&aposs Broken Spanish𠅊nd its much-lauded elevations of humble staples like the chicharron—is a fine-dining star of the nascent Alta California cuisine opening a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles was quite the scene change for Garcia, who previously helmed a very different restaurant altogether at a hotel in Santa Monica. His leap into the future appears to have paid off there&aposs even a casual spin-off, the daring (some might say slightly tweaked) B.S. Taqueria, a few blocks away.

Diego Hernandez Los Angeles
Another top chef from south of the border, this time just south of it, Hernandez became world-famous for his bold, tasting-menu restaurant𠅌orazón de Tierra—located on a beautiful piece of lan in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe wine region, just an hour or so from San Diego. After landing a spot on the Latin America&aposs 50 Best Restaurants list, Hernandez is now bringing his ultra-modern style to a particularly upmarket patch of Los Angeles. The going hasn&apost been smooth, but there&aposs promise. :A bumpy start in Los Angeles shouldn&apost take away from his accomplishment, anymore than any other chef that&aposs had challenges, which is most of them," says Esparza. "Hernandez is still a badass, great chef and I have no doubt he&aposll figure things out."

Eduardo Ruiz Los Angeles
Known best as the guy who got people to drive from all over Southern California to the working-class suburb of Bell to eat dinner—Ruiz&apos Pan-Latin Corazon y Miel was a smash hit, in its time—he&aposs now working with others on two very different concepts, Chica&aposs Tacos in Downtown Los Angeles, and on the menu at Public Beer & Wine, a very Long Beach-y spot in Long Beach, but probably one of the few craft beer-crazed bars where you can order proper, slow-cooked barbacoa.

Silvana Salcido Esparza Phoenix
Almost a household name in the Valley of the Sun at this point, the self-described creator of comida chingona (for the sake of politeness, let&aposs just say that means something like &aposbad-ass food&apos) first reeled in Phoenicians with her homey, familiar cooking at Barrio Café, followed by subsequent spin-offs—now, she&aposs kicked things into high-gear with the recently-opened Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a home for thoroughly modern Mexican cooking. Once again, Phoenix is in love.


Watch the video: JC100 Tribute: Elizabeth Falkner


Comments:

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  4. Eferhard

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