Meet the Chefs Taking Rhode Island’s Food Scene by Storm

From seafood to noodles, these chefs are redefining fine dining in the Ocean State


Rhode Island has always been a hotspot for food enthusiasts, boasting a rich culinary heritage and a community of innovative chefs. Today, we bring attention to 10 exceptional chefs who embody the future of the state's culinary landscape. These pioneers exhibit their unique talent, creativity, and passion, elevating the Ocean State as a foodie destination for locals and visitors alike. 

Luke Mersfelder: Bywater

At Bywater, a raw bar with a rotating small menu and a selection of natural wines, chef Luke Mersfelder presents his refined and playful take on seafood. Bringing a coastal New England interpretation to Old World flavors and techniques, his dishes – like the grilled spicy crab pasta featuring Prica Farina spaghetti, lemon confits, chilis, and breadcrumbs – exemplify his innovative culinary approach. Warren

Jeanie Roland: Ella’s Food & Drink

Renowned chef Roland, who beat  Bobby Flay, is a standout in the culinary scene. Her expertise, honed through extensive travels in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and more, has earned her seven James Beard nominations and nine Golden Spoon Awards. Delight your palate with her globally inspired dishes, such as the Miso Salmon with black rice, with black rice, chili’d bok choy, and ginger sesame butter, or savor the Foie Gras Club featuring seared Hudson Valley foie gras, tomato-apple jam, and crisp smoked bacon on a grilled house brioche. Westerly

Mariana Gonzalez-Trasvina: La Vecina Taqueria

Originally from Mexico City, James Beard Award nominee Mariana Gonzalez-Trasvina brings traditional flavors cultivated from her culinary journeys to her dishes. From the succulent Carnitas Tacos to the Savory Chicken Enchiladas, the food is a symphony of authentic Mexican flavors. Newport 

Derek Wagner: Nicks on Broadway

As a result of his innovative approach to American cuisine at Nicks on Broadway, chef Derek Wagner has become a force in Providence's culinary sphere. His menu showcases his artistry with dishes like the Cassoulet, which comes with braised RI pork, chicken, beef, beans and onions, crème fraiche, and breadcrumbs, and Cauliflower Risotto with pecorino, lemon, and olive oil. Providence 

Ben Sukle: Oberlin and Gift Horse

Chef Ben Sukle's culinary talents have earned him numerous accolades, including James Beard Award nominations. At Oberlin, he exhibits his mastery of local ingredients through dishes like Polenta Sorpresine with caramelized cabbage, Oberlin 'nduja, potatoes, and provolone piccante, and Fried Mussels with green garlic and habanada pepper vinaigrette. A community staple, Oberlin has also served as a training ground for emerging chefs. At the recently opened

Gift Horse, patrons can enjoy local shellfish, seafood, and daily catches from New England while dining in a style distinctive of Sukle’s approach to seasonality. Providence 

Scott LaChapelle: Pickerel

At Pickerel, chef Scott LaChapelle showcases his innovative take on noodle dishes, blending traditional flavors with modern techniques. Experimenting with flavors, textures, and presentation, LaChapelle crafts a curated dining experience centered around ingredients that are fresh and seasonal. Providence 

Robert Andreozzi: Pizza Marvin

A collaboration between James Beard Award semifinalist chef Robert Andreozzi and renowned bartender Jesse Hedberg, Pizza Marvin revolutionizes the pie, and Andreozzi has amassed a loyal following with his unique combinations of toppings and dough. Expect exciting blends like clams, potato, and bacon, or kale, green goddess blend, and taleggio. Providence 

Nikhil Naiker: Pop-up Chef 

A rising star in Providence's dining scene, chef Nikhil Naiker, formerly of now-closed Fortnight, astounds with his creative and flavorful cuisine. His pop-ups featuring dishes like Tuna Crudo seasoned with preserved summer melons, herb oil and husk cherries, have received rave reviews. Follow along on Instagram for dates and locations.  Providence 

Sherry Pocknet: Sly Fox Den Too

Chef Pocknett, a proud member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and first Indigenous woman to earn a James Beard Award, draws inspiration from her cultural roots. Immersed in the traditional practices of her tribe from a young age, she mastered the arts of foraging, preserving, and cooking with locally sourced ingredients. Sly Fox Den Too reflects this heritage with a warm ambiance adorned with Native American artwork. Signature dishes like the Fire Cracker Shrimp & Nausamp, a fusion of spicy garlic-glazed shrimp over creamy yellow corn grits, and the Sly Fox Benedict, a decadent twist with venison sausage and hollandaise sauce, redefine Native American cuisine. Charlestown

Basil Yu: Yagi Noodles

Chef Basil Yu's dedication to handmade noodles takes center stage at Yagi Noodles. The restaurant seamlessly blends traditional Japanese and Chinese techniques, offering an American ramen-focused menu. Whether it's mouthwatering ramen bowls, pan-fried noodles with savory sauces, or delicate dumplings, Yu showcases his unwavering passion for the art of noodle-making. Newport

Rhode Island culinary scene Rhode Island chefs Foodie destination Rhode Island Bywater restaurant Warren Luke Mersfelder seafood Ella’s Food & Drink Westerly Jeanie Roland global-inspired dishes La Vecina Taqueria Newport Mariana Gonzalez-Trasvina Mexican flavors Nicks on Broadway Providence Derek Wagner American cuisine Oberlin and Gift Horse Providence Ben Sukle local ingredients Pickerel restaurant Providence Scott LaChapelle noodle dishes Pizza Marvin Providence Robert Andreozzi unique pizza combinations Pop-up Chef Nikhil Naiker Providence Indian cuisine Providence Sly Fox Den Too Charlestown Sherry Pocknett Indigenous cuisine Basil Yu Yagi Noodles Newport Handmade noodles Rhode Island American ramen Rhode Island


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