Kitchen Makeovers: Chef Talk

Local chefs and restauranteurs tell us what they think about this city's dining scene.

Plus more results ...

The best restaurant in Cleveland:
  • L'Albatros Brasserie & Bar
  • Dante
  • Lolita
The best new restaurant in Cleveland:
  • Toast
  • El Carnicero
  • Cork & Cleaver Social Kitchen
The most underrated restaurant:
  • The Black Pig
  • Flying Fig
  • SoHo Kitchen and Bar
The most overrated restaurant:
  • The Greenhouse Tavern
  • Lola
  • Melt Bar & Grilled
The most admired chef:
  • Dante Boccuzzi
  • Karen Small
  • Zack Bruell
Best thing you've ever eaten at a Cleveland restaurant:
  • "Charcuterie board at the Willeyville. Amazing."
  • "Rib-eye steak at Red, the Steakhouse"
  • "Chicken soup at Amp 150"
  • "Sushi at Ginko"
  • "The braised [pork] belly at the Black Pig"
  • "Calamari at Michaelangelo's"
  • "Fried artichokes at Chinato"
  • "Duck confit at Fire [Food & Drink]"
  • "The veal chop with morels and truffle at Crop [Bistro & Bar]"
What ingredients would you use to create the ultimate Cleveland sandwich?
  • "Walleye-stuffed pierogies, potato bread, tartar, and sweet and spicy pickles"
  • "Smoked corned beef, sauteed cabbage and bacon, smoked turkey and cheddar cheese• and more bacon"
  • "House-made sausage, fermented kraut and Stadium Mustard with a deep-fried pickle"
  • "Wild black cod, avocado, grilled romaine lettuce, slow-roasted tomatoes, brioche"
How competitive do you feel with other chefs?
  • Not competitive at all: 46.34 percent
  • A little competitive: 19.51 percent
  • Somewhat competitive: 14.63 percent
  • Moderately competitive: 12.20 percent
  • Extremely competitive: 7.32 percent

"It's good to be competitive. It keeps you going forward and on your toes and always on top of your game."

"It's healthy. We may compete, but we all have each other backs."

"I compete with myself every day, that takes more than enough time and energy."

How would you rate Cleveland tippers?
  • Poor: 2.50 percent
  • Fair: 32.50 percent
  • Good: 55.00 percent
  • Very good: 10.00 percent

"Think about the big picture. The more you give, the more you get."

"I'm a chef, what's a tip?"

How important is culinary school?
  • "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
  • "If you're lucky enough to work for the right people, and you have a true passion for food, that's all you need. The restaurant business cannot be taught in a book — you have to live it."
How many times a week do you post to:
0 1-3 4-6 6-8 10-plus
Facebook 17.50 percent 30.00 percent 27.50 percent 15.00 percent 10.00 percent
Instagram 38.89 percent 27.78 percent 13.89 percent 16.67 percent 2.78 percent
Twitter 43.24 percent 24.32 percent 13.51 percent 8.11 percent 10.81 percent

"Social media is the devil."

"Cleveland is a tight-knit city of cooks and chefs. Make one hard misstep and you'll compromise your career. Keep your friends close and your chefs closer. And love every step of the way."

How do you feel about best-of lists?
  • Love to be on them: 53.66 percent
  • Don't care about them: 4.88 percent
  • There's too many of them: 14.63 percent
  • Readers love them: 26.83 percent

"I want to be the best, I just don't want to advertise it."

"It's nice to get the recognition, but I know I put out a good product that my guests enjoy."

"They can seem like a popularity contest."

Describe your food in five words or less ...

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