15 Chefs on the Places They Can’t Believe They Haven’t Visited
Though they’re often on the road and globetrotters in general, these chefs still have destinations to cross off their respective bucket lists. We spoke with 15 about the restaurant or destination they can’t believe they haven’t seen yet. Their answers range from famous restaurants to universally beloved gastronomic cities.
“El Bulli. Since I worked there, people speak to me about their meals there as if I also had the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a meal there, too. It’s always embarrassing to admit that I never got the opportunity, and now that it’s closed, I never will.
But I make sure to visit the restaurants of chefs that owned or trained there, so that I can get glimpses and memories of the ideas that came from that amazing restaurant. Like one of Albert Adria’s empire of restaurants he is developing in Barcelona; or Disfrutar in Barcelona or Compartir in Cadaques—all by Eduard Xartruc, Uriol Castro, and Mateu Cassanas, the three head chefs at El Bulli when I was working there. Or Dos Palillos, an Asian-fusion-Minibar type restaurant in Barcelona run by a former head chef of El Bulli.”
—Katie Button, Curate, Asheville, NC
“I haven’t gotten a chance to truly explore food cities Paris and London. I know—I just need to go.”
—Paul Qui, Qui Restaurant and East Side King, Austin.
“The city of Charleston, South Carolina.”
—Gail Simmons, “Top Chef,” author, Talking With My Mouth Full
“Prague. And it’s a place where my beautiful wife, Lori, has wanted me to take her, and I keep letting her down.”
—Michel Nischan, CEO, Wholesome Wave
“I’ve never been to Asia, Australia or Africa—yet! And I’m dying to go to Etxebarri in Spain.”
—Zoi Antonitsas, Top Chef
“Las Vegas. Never been. And no real need to go.”
—George Mendes, Aldea, New York City
“I don’t know, man. I’m so food obsessed, I kind of try to go everywhere, but a place that I’m kind of ashamed that I haven’t been in a long, long time? I haven’t been to L.A. in probably 15 years. I’ve heard there’s such amazing stuff going on over there, and I can’t wait to get there.
But a place that I’ve never been is Bordeaux, because I’m a wine fanatic and I’ve been all over France drinking wine, all over the world drinking wine, but I’ve never been to Bordeaux. So probably the spot I really need to get to is Bordeaux.”
—Ken Oringer, Toro, Boston and New York City
“Ashamed? None at all. I have desires to go lots of places, but for many, many years I worked and dedicated my life to kitchens, working for not a lot of money. It wasn't part of my world to truly travel for pleasure. Now, filming my new show, 36 Hours, I finally get to see the world with a true sense or curiosity and amazement.”
—Kristen Kish, co-host, 36 Hours