Chefs of the Round Table: Best New Restaurant’s Jeffrey Zurofsky


So often we associate disruption with technology, like lightning-fast trains and augmented reality. Which is great — that shit is disruptive — but sometimes change can be softer. Sometimes it’s the subtle shift of an idea, not the earth shattering launch of an iPhone.

When it comes to food in particular, disruption is all around you. (And, no, we’re not just talking about the now ubiquitous avocado toast.) It’s the reason you ordered a green juice this morning. Your preference for organic, local fish. The realization that $300 of sharehouse groceries will result in an incredible amount of food waste.

From TV personalities to New York chefs to world famous restaurateurs, Whalebone caught up with the disrupters revolutionizing the way you think, eat and feel about food. We’ve got Tom Colicchio talking about the need for food policy in presidential elections, Nat Young advocating for a less expensive, modern steakhouse and Adam Richman fighting for the democratization of food — and that’s just to start. So, kick back with that (hopefully local and organic) lemonade. We’re diving deep.

Jeffrey Zurofsky

Resume: Bravo’s Best New Restaurant, former CEO of ‘Wichcraft

Disruption: The de-fetishization of food.

The Issue: Of course, there are major social issues around food — things like food waste and poverty. Things that probably a lot of the other disrupters in this article have already spoken about. The issue, in my opinion, is that there’s no silver bullet to fix any one of those things. To solve those problems, we first have to disrupt the way our culture feels about food.

The past few decades have seen food become overly fetishized. We no longer see it as nourishment, but as entertainment. People need to be reminded that food has values that are almost intangible. Like sleeping and breathing, it’s one of the things that defines us as living beings. It’s a life source that shouldn’t be idolized. And until we remember that, food will continue to be this untouchable issue.

The Disruption: When I was running ‘Wichcraft, I always tried to take a different approach to things…a more basic, spiritual idea of the food we would serve. But over time, I’ve realized running a 450 employee business might not be the way for me to achieve my goal — that maybe I can be most meaningful as an advisor.

I now advise 12 companies, and in addition to that, I also brought my beliefs to TV, both on Best New Restaurant and in a new show I’m working on. If I’m disrupting anything, it’s changing the language around food and the way people value the benefits it brings to the table.

Keep up with Jeffrey and his disruption via his Twitter, Instagram, and TV show, “Best New Restaurant” on Bravo TV.

Read more from our Chefs of the Round Table series: