To be a great chef is no longer simply to be a wizard behind the stoves (thought the men in the following pages are certainly that). No, today’s top chefs are much more. We’re not talking about the cartoonish TV personalities who spend more time judging chef-testants than feeding actual diners. We’re talking about the real-deal guys we had to coax out of their working kitchens to pose and reveal the dashing and dapper men they are. Whether dressing sharp or dressing a salad, these chefs inspire on multiple levels: Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster has been instrumental in the revitalization of Harlem. (Samuelsson also cooked President Obama’s first state dinner.) Eric Ripert routinely serves prime ministers and kings at his lauded Manhattan restaurant, Le Bernardin. Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli serve rock stars and regulars at their fine Italian establishments in New York. And Danny Bowein started Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco with the noble decision to donate 75 cents from each entrée sale to feed the homeless. HE has since expanded his empire to the East Coast, where he continues the charitable tradition. Thankfully, we are fare beyond the moment when chefs became the new rock stars. We’re in the era of the chef as culture maker, tastemaker and style icon in the extreme.
While still in his 20s, the Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised chef made a name for himself at the highly regarded Aquavit in New York. In addition to his revolutionary Harlem outpost Red Rooster, he runs restaurants from California to Sweden. His latest book is the memoir Yes, Chef.
Corduroy blazer, $1,380, by Etro, available at MrPorter.com. Printed cotton-and-silk-blend shirt, $745, by Gucci, available at MrPorter.com. Trousers, $1,195 (for full suit), by Burberry, available at Bloomingdale’s. Scarf, $650, by Pierre-Louis Mascia. Silk pocket square, $55, by Eton. Alligator belt, $450, by J. Press. Cooper Square wingtips, $298, by Cole Haan. Socks, $30, by Nigel Knox.
Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo
A.k.a. the Franks, Falcinelli and Castronovo are contemporary Italian American restaurant dreamers. They have not only elevated red-sauce Italian cuisine at their Frankies Spuntinos in Brooklyn and Manhattan but also perfected meat-centric modern at Prime Meats.
Falcinelli: Blazer, $625, by Billy Reid, available at Bloomingdale’s. Linen pocket square, $80, by J. Press. Shirt by 45rpm, 501 jeans by Levi’s and shoes by Easton, all Falcinelli’s own.
Castronovo: Shirt and neckerchief by 45rpm, hat by Bates London, shoes by G.J. Cleverley and vintage vest, all Castronovo’s own.
French-born Ripert is one of the most decorated chefs in America. His restaurant Le Bernardin boasts a 29 Zagat food rating, has three Michelin stars and is on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. He is host of the TV show Avec Eric and author of four cookbooks.
Cotton button-down, French-cuff shirt, $160, by Thomas Pink. Tie, $97, by D.S.Dundee. Geode and diamond cuff links, price on request, by Kimberly McDonald, available at Bergdorf Goodman Men. Watch by Vacheron Constantin, Ripert’s own.
Never having been to China, Bowein nonetheless decided to reinterpret Szechuan cooking. With the help of a Kickstarter account, he launched one of San Francisco’s most highly regarded upstart start-up restaurants. How cool is he out of the kitchen? So cool that clothing chain Uniqlo used him as a model in an ad campaign.
Denim button-down shirt, $185, by Lucio Castro. Pants, $395, by Z Zegna. Leather belt, $50, by J. Crew. Glasses by Moscot, Bowein’s own.