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Richard Blais has become as much a brand as he is a chef. And no one can fault him for taking full advantage of the opportunities he's cultivated after his celebrity-making turn on season four of Bravo's Top Chef in 2009 and his winning performance on Top Chef: All Stars earlier this year. The fun, sometimes lovable, sometimes laughable burger mutants he oversees at two local Flip Burger Boutiques still stand out from the colonies of burger joints that have swarmed the city—thanks mostly to his esteemed name.

Discovery: King of Pops

The Popsicle, a brand name owned by the Unilever corporation but often used in the vernacular, has come a long way since its chemical-flavored beginnings. It was allegedly invented in the 1900s by an eleven-year-old who left a stirrer overnight in his cup of fruit-flavored soda and found a tasty treat in the morning after a freeze. Mexican immigrants to the U.S. brought with them the culture of paletas—small-batch ice pops made from spiced fresh fruit. In the last couple of years, young entrepreneurs from all over have started producing handcrafted ice pops using organic and local ingredients in an increasingly sophisticated range of tastes.

The Bookhouse Pub’s Julia LeRoy

What is a nice, delicate-looking girl like Julia LeRoy doing searing pork chops in a kitchen that often reaches 95 degrees? If you met her out of context, you’d be more likely to guess “writes poetry in the shade” than “heads kitchen in a busy gourmet pub.”

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