5 chefs with big ideas to change the restaurant industry

In the world of independent catering, being a chef can mean much more than selling a plate of food. It can be a platform to create change.

For this year’s annual Chef Power List, our Restaurant Hospitality team decided to spotlight chefs with a big idea. They are people who use their kitchens and talents to make the world a better place.

Earlier this year, Nation’s Restaurant News followed a similar theme with its Power List, highlighting people in the industry with big ideas for changing the industry, featured in the January issue.

Turning that lens to chefs, we found New York chef Shenarri Freeman, who brings a plant-based mindset to soul food; Alexander Smalls, who sees an opportunity for African cuisines; and Chad Houser, who is developing his Dallas concept, Café Momentum, into a movement to train and develop youth coming out of the juvenile justice system.

We also found Jose Garces, a chef from Philadelphia who shares his kitchen with new chefs-in-residence to give them a career boost after the pandemic; and Shirley Chung in Los Angeles, a strong advocate for stopping anti-Asian hatred.

Check out the 2022 class of the HR Chef Power list.


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Cecil N. Messick