ChefsCollective_F17D2-hero-b

Williams Sonoma

C H E F S’
C O L L E C T I V E

Meet the group of incredible chefs who will be
inspiring, educating and entertaining us all year.

Kris Yenbamroong

Why we love him: He left New York and a promising
career in the film industry, called back by the legacy of
his parents’ famous Thai restaurant. But, not content to
rest on his family’s laurels, he broke out of his comfort
zone and created a concept all his own.
 

Underrated ingredient: Brined skin-on chicken thighs.
Yenbamroong ditched chicken breast and exclusively
cooks with thigh. “We use it in our fried chicken
sandwich, one of our most popular dishes, and in all
of our stir-fries. It takes any sort of dish you would
use with chicken to a whole different level.”
 

What’s better than pad Thai: At his restaurant, the
chef serves a wok-fried noodle dish called Kuay Tiew
Khua Gai, with chicken thigh, baby octopus, egg, radish
and cabbage. “So much of our food people associate
with being intense,” he explains. “This is kind of delicious
in a bland way, like mashed potatoes.”

 

 

 

 

Kris Yenbamroong

Chef and Owner, NIGHT + MARKET Restaurants
Los Angeles, CA

 

 

Julia Momose

Julia Momose

Bartender, Oriole
Chicago, IL

 

Why we love her: She’s brought a Japanese sensibility
to American bar menus, thanks to ingredients like nori,
black sesame and bonito—and she has a wicked talent
for making zero-proof beverages.  


Her mixology point of view: Momose strives to create
complex yet elemental cocktails. “Drinks with over 10
ingredients can be convoluted,” she says. “The idea of
finding one crazy brandy and introducing one or two
other ingredients is really exciting to me.” 


What drew her to the bar:
“I love the interaction with
guests. I love giving them something that was just what
they wanted, and maybe even better than what they
thought they wanted.”

Katie Button

Why we love her: Though her background is in fine
dining, she knows how to connect with home cooks as
well. Time-saving techniques, seasonal meals and simple
ingredients are an everyday part of her repertoire at home.


Secret background: Button was studying in Paris on the
path to get her Ph.D. in chemical engineering when her
side hobby (cooking) become a full-blown passion. She
dropped out to become a waitress in Washington D.C.,
and then worked her way up in the kitchen.


Where you’ve seen her before: Button was one
of a handful of chefs whose stage at the legendary
restaurant elBulli was chronicled in the book
The Sorcerer’s Apprentices.

 

Katie Button

Executive Chef and Co-Owner,
Cúrate Tapas Bar and Nightbell
Asheville, NC

 

 

Matt Bolus

Matt Bolus

Executive Chef, The 404 Kitchen
Nashville, TN

Why we love him: Because he’s committed to fixing
America’s food system. “We need to undo the
mass-produced food system. I think that starts in the
South with small animal producers and small farmers.”


Signature condiment: Whiskey jam, made with raisins,
apple cider and spices. “It’s my way of getting to drink
for breakfast and not be judged.”


His secret to great corn bread: Two grinds of
cornmeal—coarse and fine—that create the effect of
flour without the addition of wheat. Also, a preheated
cast-iron skillet: “You have to be able to start your
corn bread raging hot.”

Brandon Jew

Why we love him: With dishes like Dutch Crunch BBQ
Pork Buns and Caviar Cheong Fun, Jew’s food is a unique
representation of San Francisco Chinese food and
Chinatown—and a new style of Asian food altogether.


Vivid childhood food memory:
Riding the bus with his
grandmother to Chinatown. “We had seven stops: lap
cheong
from down the street, a live fish from Stockton
Street, the produce market. A lot of times, she was
battling other grandmas to get the very best!”


Chinese-American cuisine 2.0:
“In the next five to ten
years, chefs all around the United States will be
re-creating the idea of what Chinese-American food is.”

 

Brandon Jew

Executive Chef and Owner, Mister Jiu’s
San Francisco, CA

 

 

Joshua McFadden

Joshua McFadden

Executive Chef/Owner, Ava Gene’s,
and Founding Partner, Submarine Hospitality & Tusk
Portland, OR

Why we love him: He has trademarked the phrase 
“aggressively seasonal,” which perfectly sums up his
approach to cooking: His restaurant, Ava Gene’s, can
win diners over with a simple crudité platter, and his 
cookbook, Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables
is transforming the way we shop and cook. 


Ideal flavor: “I always say every dish should taste like 
a potato chip: chips are engineered to taste good and 
they have the right balance of salt, fat and acidity.” 

Biggest influence: After cooking professionally in a 
string of big-city restaurants, McFadden worked at 
Four Season Farm in Maine, where he saw firsthand the 
magic of seasonal produce and learned the importance
of sourcing the best. 

Deuki Hong

Why we love him: Though his restaurants have attracted
fans such as Anthony Bourdain and Questlove, Hong
remains humble about his success. “I’ve been incredibly
fortunate,” he says. And, despite counting chefs David
Chang and Jean-Georges Vongerichten as former bosses,
he credits his high school home economics teacher,
Mrs. Gabrielsen, with sparking his interest in cooking.


Secret talent:
Knitting (“I can knit a scarf in a jiffy”)
and bowling (2007 New Jersey state champion).


Underrated ingredient:
Time. “When I make a marinade
I let it sit overnight before I even add meat,” says Hong.
“Time changes the flavor and adds depth. It’s not difficult,
but you can’t cheat it.”

Deuki Hong

Chef, Sunday Hospitality Group;
Co-Author, Koreatown: A Cookbook
San Francisco, CA

 

 

Daniela Soto-Innes

Daniela Soto-Innes

Chef and Partner, Cosme and ATLA
New York, NY

Why we love her: Soto-Innes is totally ahead of the
curve. The 26-year-old chef, who first began cooking
professionally at the age of 15, has already opened
multiple restaurants and received her own James
Beard Foundation Award.

Secret background: Swimming was Soto-Innes’s
first passion, until a shoulder injury sidelined her
from going pro.

Favorite thing to make at home: The chef’s favorite
flavor combination might surprise you. “I love bananas
drizzled with olive oil, lime and chia seeds,” she reveals.

 

Steven Satterfield

Why we love him: Satterfield is taking Southern
cooking back to its roots. “Much of what is fetishized
about Southern cooking is fried chicken and mac and
cheese, but we don’t eat like that all the time.” Instead,
he focuses on local produce, agrarian cycles and
celebrating Southern farmers.


Kitchen passion:
Preventing food waste. Forty percent of
the food that’s produced in America goes into the garbage,
says Satterfield. “It’s our responsibility as cooks to value
all of the resources it takes to make our food by using
every part of it.”


Everyday meal:
“I turn on the Vitamix, put everything
in it for a smoothie and then head out the door.”

 

Steven Satterfield

Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Miller Union
Atlanta, GA

 

 

Gavin Kaysen

Gavin Kaysen

Chef and Owner, Spoon and Stable and Bellecour
Minneapolis, MN

Why we love him: After seven years—and countless
accolades—as executive chef of Café Boulud, he gave
up the bright lights of New York for his hometown,
Minneapolis, where his restaurant helped to put
Minnesota on the culinary destination map.


Signature dish:
Bison tartare with harissa and
garbanzo bean chips. “Bison is a great product that
we can find here in the Midwest, and believe it or not,
peppers are something that grow all year round here.”


Underrated ingredient:
Rutabaga. “Nobody uses
rutabaga other than me,” he says. His favorite ways to
cook with it? Adding cubes of it to a braise, or roasting
it with olive oil, Chinese five spice and salt until
deeply golden.

 

Ashley Christensen

Why we love her: Her restaurants—which reflect
her style of refined comfort food—have helped
infused Raleigh with new energy and opportunity.


Vivid childhood food memory:
“My dad would make
pesto, and he’d have a line set up where he’d take
a gallon-size plastic bag, put a bunch of pesto in the
bottom of it, and then my brother and I would have
a straw station where we’d suck up all the air. I have
this immediate flashback of wanting to pass out.”


Her motivation for opening restaurants:
“I had a
2,000-square-foot diner, and at some point, it limited
the opportunity for people to graduate on to the next
level. I wanted to create more opportunity for folks
we’re working with.”

Ashley Christensen

Chef and Proprietor, AC Restaurants
Raleigh, NC

 

 

Fabian von Hauske & Jeremiah Stone

Fabian von Hauske
& Jeremiah Stone

Chefs, Contra and Wildair
New York, NY

Why we love them: The Lower East Side duo behind
Contra, a tasting menu restaurant, and Wildair, the
casual wine-focused spot next door, is working on a
third concept together. “We’re together so often that
some people don’t know who is who,” says Stone.


Unexpected inspiration:
“Graphic design helps me
imagine how colors and shapes might work together
well on a plate,” says von Hauske. As for Stone,
“Growing up eating bad versions of food, like canned
mushrooms or underripe tomatoes, helps me
appreciate good versions and dream up new ideas.”


Favorite kitchen tool:
“I have a spoon I stole from
Jean-Georges that is the perfect shape,” says
von Hauske. “Every time someone puts it through the
dishwasher I freak out.”

 

Derek Dammann

Why we love him: With a local wine list and standouts
like Welsh rarebit with Prince Edward Island cheddar,
he’s telling a story of Canadian food beyond smoked
meat and poutine.

Signature dish: Baked oysters with Marmite. “One of my
roommates used to have Marmite on toast with sliced
cucumbers, which I thought was odd but memorable.
And out West, oysters have this cucumber-melon flavor
to them. It came from that—and now we sell 300 a week.”

Underrated ingredient: Plain white vinegar.
Dammann uses it for salad dressings, mayonnaise,
poaching eggs—even polishing cutlery. “I think it’s the
most quintessential Canadian ingredient. Every single
person in the country has it in their pantry somewhere.” 

 

Derek Dammann

Chef, Maison Publique
Montréal, Canada