Part of being an elite chef in the field is continuing education: traveling the globe, studying the foods and flavors, and letting that brain expansion influence future dishes and creative directions. Indeed, chefs see travel to far corners of the world through a special lens — and here some of the culinary world's biggest stars share their favorite food cities and why.
1. Chris Santos
"Travel is, like for many people, my favorite thing to do," says Chef Santos, owner of VANDAL, Beauty & Essex, and Stanton Social in New York City, and a frequent judge on Chopped. "As a chef, the sense of discovery that I experience when I'm on the road is extremely rewarding. My favorite place is probably Southeast Asia — I can literally roam the streets and alleyways for days nibbling on cart snacks."
2. Richard Sandoval
“My favorite destination food city is definitely Dubai," says Sandoval, who owns 45 restaurants in the U.S.A., Mexico, Asia, and the Middle East. "There are so many nationalities which results in an extremely diverse restaurant scene. It’s almost as if every continent has its own representation through a restaurant in Dubai. I also love that a lot of acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs have opened restaurants in Dubai — Nobu Matsuhisa, Jamie Oliver, and Pierre Gagnaire just to name a few. It’s truly an ultimate foodie destination.”
3. Dale Talde
"Hong Kong is my favorite food city!" says Talde, co-owner of Talde (in Brooklyn, Jersey City, and Miami), Pork Slope and Thistle Hill Tavern (both in Brooklyn) — and Top Chef alum. "On a recent R&D trip to Hong Kong for our new restaurant Rice and Gold (32 Mott Street), I had a 42-day dry-aged Peking duck, lobster mapo tofu and house greens with shrimp paste that shut the party down because they were so good. Mak’s Noodle is the place to go for shrimp wonton soup — it’s a simple bowl of juicy plump wontons, beautiful chewy thin Hong Kong noodles, with a light simple broth. Add a little chili oil…. dope. Duddell’s for dim sum was also excellent — we had a crispy tempura-style cabbage stuffed with a shrimp mousse, which was simple but really delicate and sophisticated. Hong Kong is definitely worth checking out if you’re a lover of food!"
4. Carla Hall
"New Orleans, because not only do you get Creole and Cajun food but its much more multi-cultural than people think. They have great Vietnamese, Mediterranean, and other cuisines there," says Chef Hall, co-host of The Chew, and owner of Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen in Brooklyn.
5. Marcus Samuelsson
"I'm crazy for London eats these days, especially in the Hackney area of East London around Shoreditch where I'm opening Red Rooster next year," says chef Samuelsson, a judge on Chopped and owner of Red Rooster Harlem & Streetbird Rotisserie in New York City. "You can have gorgeous, hand-crafted cocktails at the White Lyan, a stunning meal at Lyle's, or just be happy with strolling along Broadway Market eating street food."
6. Adam Richman
"I have so many it's hard to pick just one — but because it is so fresh in my memory, I'm going to say Rome," says Adam Richman, host of Secret Eats with Adam Richman on Travel Channel." Because it is a hub of antiquity, you can find an unbelievable amount of traditional recipes and eateries serving up exquisite pasta like Rome's signature Cacio e Pepe, as well as wood-fired pizza and Porchetta. This is to say nothing of the amazing salumeria that serve mind blowing cured meats and cheeses, and perhaps the most beautiful store-restaurant hybrid of them all: Roscioli on Via del Giubbonari. When you couple the above with gelato that tastes like it came from heaven's own kitchen, and arguably some of the best wines on earth, it elevates eating from an everyday activity to appreciation of an art form."
7. Robert Irvine
"Tampa is home for myself, my wife, and our daughters. We love going to Charley’s Steakhouse together as a family. The cuts are amazing and it never disappoints. In Philadelphie, Parc is a wonderful restaurant. I love going here not only for the amazing food, but also because they have done a masterful job of capturing the spirit of Paris, which is, of course, not easy to do. In Scottsdale, Elements at Sanctuary: If you’re after outstanding food with a breathtaking view, Elements at Sanctuary is a great choice. Chef Beau Macmillan works up an amazing menu for every season. If you're ever in the area you have to experience a meal here. Finally, Cafe Fiorello is a great little spot for Italian food in New York City. When I'm in town I love stopping here for some pasta and a great glass of red wine."
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Jet Set is Bravo's launch pad for the most extravagant, luxurious, and unforgettable travel experiences. Ready for takeoff? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.