Food Network’s Newest “Hot List” — Stars to Watch in 2023

We’re so excited to announce our second annual Food Network Hot List, our picks for some of the most-exciting food personalities and culinary rock stars making their mark in the food content space.

January 20, 2023

Say hello to our 2023 Hot List! From a “potato queen” to a “kitchen witch”, to restaurateurs and restaurant incubators, this year’s dynamic and diverse group of talent bring creativity and energy to their multifaceted culinary endeavors and are making magical things happen in and out of the kitchen. Get to know more about the 9 food stars on our #FNHotList below.

Fariyal Abdullahi

You may recognize her from her recent guest judging on Chopped, but these days she is spending most of her time as the Chef De Cuisine at Hav & Mar restaurant in New York City. Abdullahi has worked at the three-Michelin-star eatery, Noma, in Copenhagen, and even cooked at the 2021 Met Gala. Her dishes tend to include nods to her Ethiopian roots. We’re excited to collaborate with her even more in 2023.

Gabriele Bertaccini

You may recognize him from guest judging on Alex vs America, but he spends most of his time running 4 successful catering companies in LA (and surfing while his 3 Australian shepherds watch from the shore!). Born in Firenze, Italy, he now lives in Venice Beach and loves to bring people together around the dinner table and share his culture with everyone around him. We’re excited to work with him this year!

Julian Rodarte

He is the Executive Chef of Beto & Son, a restaurant in Dallas he opened 6 years ago with his father at only 23 years old! He loves to reimagine different dishes and considers his cooking style "next-gen Mexican food", taking inspiration from recipes passed down from his great grandmother. A fun fact about him is after college, he did Research and Development for Denny’s restaurants!

Photo by: Michel Leroy

Michel Leroy

Brogan Wu

Whether you know her from the discovery+ original Serving the Hamptons, or drool over her food videos on Tiktok or Instagram, this self-proclaimed “Kitchen Witch” is worth a follow (@thekitchenwitch). When she’s not working as the chef at 75 Main, this Jersey girl loves to read old cookbooks (and develop new recipes), fangirl over Martha Stewart, and watch 80s slasher movies.

Poppy O’Toole

If you’re not one of Poppy’s 4 million social followers on TikTok or Instagram, run, don’t walk! This self-proclaimed “Potato Queen” started off in restaurants when she was only 17 before doing an apprenticeship at a Michelin-star restaurant in Birmingham, UK. When she lost her job during the pandemic, she started making cooking videos on TikTok, amassing 56 MILLION likes on her content (like her famous 15-hour potato recipe) since launching.

Jeremy McBryde

You may have seen him guest judging on Supermarket Stakeout and Beachside Brawl, but Jeremy is an established chef and restaurateur whose mission is elevating communities through food. He started off with instantly-popular pop-ups and food trucks in LA, before opening his first restaurant, Comfort LA, on Skid Row. Now he has multiple locations and even turned his Inglewood location into a community incubator, giving the opportunity to up-and-coming chefs to create their own restaurant in his space.

Paola Velez

Chef Paola Velez, a pastry chef and social justice activist based out of Washington D.C., makes incredible desserts (like her signature Plantain Sticky Buns you can peep on her Instagram page!). She’s a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu who has worked for Jacques Torres and Christina Tosi, and we guarantee her food videos will have you DROOLING!



Shota Nakajima

Not only has Shota beaten Bobby Flay, he also competed on Iron Chef Gauntlet and placed in the top 3 of Top Chef: Portland. When he’s not making droolworthy TikToks or Instagram Reels, he runs 2 restaurants in Seattle, Taku and Kobo. You can also catch Shota competing on Tournament of Champions, Season 4, premiering on February 19!

Judge Esther Choi as seen on Chopped, Season 54

Judge Esther Choi as seen on Chopped, Season 54

Photo by: Dawn Hoffmann

Dawn Hoffmann

Esther Choi

When she isn’t beating Bobby Flay or guest judging on Chopped, she’s going viral across Instagram and TikTok with her super fun “Turn It Gourmet” food videos. Her incredible Korean restaurant mökbar continues to expand and open new locations, and we’re so excited to keep working with Esther this year.

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