Every year, Eater seeks out talented rising stars in the restaurant industry from all across the country and names a select group the Young Guns. To be considered, the chefs, restaurateurs, bartenders, sommeliers, and other contenders have to be under the age of 30 or have less than five years of experience in the bar and restaurant world.
For 2018, Eater editors combed through thousands of reader-submitted entries for more than 600 nominees and worked with a committee of esteemed industry veterans and local city editors to narrow the field down to 54 semifinalists and, now, 18 winners. Among those winners are two women representing Philly.
Caitlin McMillan is executive chef at Goldie, the falafel and tehina shake spot from Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook. McMillan, who’s 29, quickly moved her way up within the CookNSolo restaurant group, starting out as a line cook at Zahav in 2014. She moved over to hummusiya Dizengoff as opening sous chef before heading to Goldie, where she’s in charge. Goldie first opened in Rittenhouse in spring 2017 and has since added locations in the Franklin’s Table food hall at Penn and the Whole Foods in Fairmount.
Solomonov and Cook have referred to her as their “one-woman ‘special forces’ sent to any and all projects that need a boost, positioning the project on track and moving on to the next one with a quiet humming of efficiency.”
Kaitlyn Caruke is head sommelier at Walnut Street Cafe, the bright, beautiful all-day restaurant that opened in University City in summer 2017. Caruke, 29, had been living in New York and working at the Michelin-starred Rebelle when the restaurant’s owners asked if she’d like to move to Philly and create her own wine list at their new venue.
In addition to managing inventory, a key part of Caruke’s job is to train staff and contribute to service, from talking with tables to running food and polishing glasses. Like most sommeliers, she loves it when guests come in with a curious palate. “I enjoy when people are open to trying new things,” she said. The tricky part is that often, folks want to be nudged into saying they want recommendations. Especially when, either out of habit or trepidation, guests order their go-to glass of Malbec without glancing at the wine list. “Sometimes the hardest part is opening the door to have a conversation.”
Read about all the 2018 Eater Young Guns here.