Sales in the restaurant and foodservice industry fell by $240 billion in 2020, and more than 110,000 eating and drinking places were closed for business temporarily, or for good, according to a report by the National Restaurant Association. Despite the ominous numbers, many restaurants that have survived the challenges are forging ahead with plans to debut new chefs.
Rachel Nugent-Dumont, Ambersweet at the Confidante Miami Beach, Florida
Nugent-Dumont, a New York City standout who has led teams at Michelin-star restaurants including The Clocktower and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, now leads Ambersweet’s culinary concepts as head restaurant chef. Inspired by local ingredients and modern-day indulgences, she created a menu that celebrates the many distinct cultures of Miami. Nugent has spent the past eight years volunteering at soup kitchens and hands-on communities to give back to the underprivileged.
Drew Erickson, Table 301 Restaurant Group, Greenville, South Carolina
After four years of tutelage from one of the most celebrated chefs in the country, Drew Erickson is back in his hometown. In 2016 he budding chef left for a month-long stage at The French Laundry under Thomas Keller, and ended up staying there four years. Erickson is keenly aware of the importance of kitchen culture and the collaborative environment he creates to get his cooks in a zone that leads to creation, intention and culinary excellence. He loves interacting with guests and seeing how they react to his dishes. He takes that same enthusiasm and gets to know the farmers and purveyors who are supplying his produce.
This collaboration between Meadowood Napa Valley and Ojai Valley Inn marks a new home for the acclaimed restaurant which was destroyed by a California wildfire last year. The six-course dinner with wine pairings will feature California ingredients that flourish in late winter and early spring, with ingredients sourced from The Restaurant’s very own 3.5-acre farm as well as from local artisans and growers in the Napa and Ojai valleys. Kostow said, “We look forward to crafting menus that encompass the divergent terroir of the valleys of Napa and Ojai, and to sharing our work with a new audience.”
Chef Steve McHgh, Landrace, San Antonio, Texas
Landrace is a new destination restaurant helmed by Chef Steve McHugh in San Antonio’s Arts District. An acclaimed chef and respected member of the San Antonio community, McHugh helped put the city on the culinary map when he opened his charcuterie-focused venue Cured. Now with Landrace, McHugh shifts his focus to heritage and place with seasonal menus that celebrate regional Texas ingredients and growers close to home.
Chris Cantrel, Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, Palm Beach, Florida
Chef Chris Cantrel joined the oceanfront resort as its first-ever head sushi chef in February 2021. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Chef Cantrel has worked in culinary arts for the past 16 years, with a special emphasis on seafood and sushi. At Eau, he shares his passion and creative energy by providing guests with a skillfully designed menu of sushi, sashimi, house and signature rolls, among other items with local ingredients. Chef Cantrel joined Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa to help the award-winning resort, which boasts multiple dining outlets, bolster its sushi offerings with market-fresh Atlantic fish artfully presented and sustainably sourced.