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Simone Tong Little Tong Noodle Shop New York

These NextGen chefs all offer a fresh take on contemporary cuisine rooted in classic styles and varied cultures

Trigg Brown Win Son New York Southern-born Trigg Brown may be an unlikely proprietor of a Taiwanese restaurant, but in Brooklyn, juxtapositions—and quality food—are embraced. Like many English lit majors, Brown needed a side hustle while attending the University of Virginia, so he worked in the kitchen at the nearby Keswick Hall and Golf Club, where he met chef Pei Jen Chang, who became his mentor and taught him the techniques and nuances of Japanese, Chinese, and Taiwanese cuisines.

Throughout her youth, Simone Tong traveled the world, including childhood moves around Asia and Australia, plus college in North Carolina—but watching TV one day in her birthplace of Chengdu, China, she found true inspiration. She came across a program featuring renowned Chef Wylie Dufresne and was inspired by his approach to food. Using money she earned playing online poker, Tong put herself through New York’s Institute of Culinary Education, then managed to land an externship at Dufresne’s wd~50. After years in others’ kitchens, in 2017, she took the leap to open her own spot (with restaurateur Simon Xi)—and return to her culinary roots with Little Tong Noodle Shop in the East Village. It was an immediate success and a second location in Midtown followed in 2018. Both outposts focus on variations of the Yunnan Province’s mixian rice noodle in a variety of dishes, so ramen and pho lovers can mix it up. This year, Tong received a StarChefs Rising Stars Award and will open yet another restaurant, this one the higher-end Silver Apricot in the West Village, to take us on even more eating adventures.

That training, and help from his Taiwanese-American business partner Josh Ku (shown above and below), allowed him to open Win Son in 2017. The East Williamsburg restaurant showcases a constantly evolving take on Taiwanese cuisine, but always with traditional f lavors and locally sourced ingredients. Brown also incorporates inspiration from his other previous gigs, working for chefs like Tom Colicchio and Stephen Starr, and sees Win Son as an opportunity to both experiment with the multicultural Taiwanese cuisine and educate customers on its unique flavors.

Culture & Taste - Proprietors NY

Leah Cohen Pig & Khao New York Raised by a Filipino mother and Romanian-Jewish father, Leah Cohen had rich cultural and culinary exposure from an early age. As an adult, she trained at the Culinary Institute of America and gained formal kitchen experience in New York (including Eleven Madison Park), at the Michelin-starred La Madia in Licata, Italy, and at restaurants in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Cambodia before opening her own restaurant, Pig & Khao, on New York’s Lower East Side in 2012. There she serves Asian street CSQ Q1 2019

food with an elegant touch against a backdrop of brightly colored decor and vibrant sounds of hip-hop and reggae. Featured on Top Chef and winner of a 2013 StarChefs Rising Star Award, Cohen has the magnetism of a movie star, but her food—Malaysian fried chicken with pineapple chutney, baby octopus paksiw with black vinegar butter, and filipino chocolate rice pudding with crispy bacon bits— takes the spotlight.


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