Chef Lines: use the careers of your favorite chefs to find new places to eat

Here’s an idea I’ve been thinking about for a long time now. A sort of Yelp competitor in a way. I hope to expand on this soon, but the basic concept is an interactive, visual map, or at least a database, which tracks the employment histories, influences, and connections of chefs, bartenders, and other people in the food industry. The main theoretical benefit is to discover new and good places based on their staff’s association with other places you already know you like or which are already known-good. An ideal tool for finding very new places without significant review numbers yet, but which you can make an educated early guess will be good based on staff experience and connections.

For a hopefully illustrative example, think of all the people who have worked at notable Bay Area restaurant Chez Panisse, and how many of them have gone on to have pretty incredible and influential careers themselves. Working in that place speaks initially to the likely promise and skill of those who are given jobs there, but at least as importantly through their time there, they gain experience in what makes Chez Panisse food and the overall experience so (arguably) special. They can then theoretically go on to use that experience and their increased skill to contribute to or even start other great restaurants and food businesses. History has shown this to be true. Just read any recent food article in a popular newspaper with a serious food section, or a dedicated food publication like Eater, and you’ll almost always see some mention of the history of key staff, chefs, managers, bartenders, etc.

So… what if you could literally see, trace, and even search by the history of individuals, or see the places that key staff of a new restaurant have worked at recently. It seems like this could be a really powerful and effective way of finding new and high quality restaurants, bars, etc.!