The 10 People We Have Our Eyes on in 2019

(Image credit: From Left: Getty Images/Noam Galai; Melissa Holm; Morgan Pansing; Melanie Rieders; Nik Sharma; Grant Delin; E.E Berger; Alex Lau; Jason Favreau; Gabriel Flores)

Gaze into my crystal ball. I wouldn’t call myself a fortune teller, but this magical orb has all the secrets of the future. Look deep (no, deeper) and it’s clear that there are a handful of people in food who are going to do cool things in 2019.

There are big TV personalties who will (probably) make it even bigger, cookbook authors, and former Top Chef competitors who are only just beginning. Read this now, and keep your eyes peeled for BIG THINGS next year — and remember, fortune flavors (er, favors) the bold.

Cookbook author, recipe developer, writer (and all-around cool person)

There’s absolutely no space left on my bookshelf for another cookbook, but the instant buzz that surrounded Nik’s Season when it came out in October gave me enough FOMO to make room. I am so happy I did. He’s been touted as the Ottolenghi of Indian food and completely deserves that high praise: His recipes are playful riffs on classic dishes and he’s slowly making ingredients like garam masala and tamarind household words. If how he’s made a name for himself in just a few short months is any indication of what he has in store for 2019, I’ll be clearing away more room on my bookshelf and excitedly following along. – Sheela Prakash, Assistant Food Editor

TV personality, cookbook author, and total badass

Carla Hall has had quite the year. The hit TV show that she co-hosted since 2011, The Chew, was canceled, and she also came out with a cookbook, Carla Hall’s Soul Food. I can’t wait to see what she does next, because she literally could do anything. Will she have her own TV show? Will she start her own media company? Will she open a bunch of restaurants? Whatever is next, it’s Carla’s for the taking, and I know 2019 will be a big year for her. – Ariel Knutson, News & Culture Editor

Top Chef champion, cookbook author, and restaurant owner (Arlo Grey)

Kristen Kish is definitely someone to watch going into the new year. Over the past few years, she’s won Top Chef, written a (beautiful!) debut cookbook, and, just this past summer, opened her first restaurant in Austin, Texas. In a lot of ways, she’s just getting started — and I can’t wait to see what she does next. — Melissa Harrison, Food Director

Pie master and cookbook author behind Sister Pie

If you haven’t already been keeping tabs on the baking trajectory of pie-master Lisa Ludwinski, it’s probably time that you start. Before opening the doors to her Detroit-based bakery, Sister Pie, in 2015, Lisa was baking made-to-order pies out of her parent’s basement. Three years and one brick-and-mortar location later, her vision of baking for joy came to life in the form of the Sister Pie cookbook. We can’t wait to see what delicious things she wills into existence next. — Lauren Masur, Staff Writer

Winner of the never-aired Great American Baking Show, season three

Vallery is as charming and funny in real-life as she is on social media, and I have no doubt she’ll do big things in the coming year. Whether or not ABC decides to air her season of the Great American Baking Show (she’s the reigning champ), she’s poised to take the baking world by storm. – Grace Elkus, Senior Food Editor

Chef, wellness superstar, and current cover lady for Cherry Bombe magazine

The first time I heard about Sophia Roe was this fall from Cherry Bombe founder, Kerry Diamond. “She’s sort of like an influencer, blogger, Instagrammer. Her whole thing is about wellness inside and out and I really appreciate her message and think she’s amazing,” she explained. Since then I’ve seen her everywhere, including the cover (!) of Cherry Bombe mag! I just love her voice and style and I see big things in her future. — Ariel Knutson, News & Culture Editor

Cookbook author and host of Netflix’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (and person with the BEST LAUGH)

Samin is someone we’ve had our collective eye on for a long time; her Chez Panisse background and almost spiritual devotion to the real rituals of home cooking have inspired us for years (see her kitchen tour here!). When her book blew up, and then — hello! — she got a Netflix show, it felt a little bit like watching a friend get real big. She is so refreshing as a presence in the kitchen, even on television she just seems exactly like herself. In a world where so much seems so artificial, I will keep watching Samin wherever she goes, and I have my eyes on her this year. — Faith Durand, Editor-in-Chief

Freelance writer for publications like the New York Times, and the 2018 James Beard Award Winner for profile writing

One of the best storytellers in food to emerge in the last couple of years is undoubtedly Mayukh Sen. It’s incredible to think that a little over a year ago he was still a staff writer at Food52. Since then he’s gone freelance (after a brief stint at Vice’s Munchies) and continues to write INCREDIBLE profiles on people — particularly women — who don’t get enough attention in our food culture. He’s also coming out with a book sometime in the next few years (!) and I couldn’t be more excited to read about what he has to say in 2019. – Ariel

Founder and CEO of Hedley & Bennett (and the best friend you always wanted)

Ellen Bennett might be known as the Queen of Aprons, but I have a suspicious feeling there’s more up her sleeve (or not sleeve — aprons don’t usually have sleeves, right?). Hedley & Bennett released some awesome shoes this year in partnership with Vans. (And also, as our contributing editor Geraldine Campbell pointed out, did you see her WEDDING DRESS?) I wouldn’t be surprised if she expanded her offerings even more in 2019. – Ariel

Food Director for Bon Appétit and author of Where Cooking Begins, coming out March 2019 (also, rising YouTube queen)

You might already be familiar with Brad Leone and Claire Saffitz from Bon Appétit‘s delightful YouTube channel, but the rising star is secretly BA’s Food Director, Carla Lalli Music. I mean, have you seen her video with Ina Garten? Also, she’s coming out with a cookbook this spring and it sounds like just the kind of thing everyone is going to want to cook out of. – Ariel

Who do you have your eyes on in 2019? Anyone you think everyone should know about? We’d love to hear!