It's true: In many ways, chefs are the new rock stars. People are enthusiastic about novel pairings and high-concept plating. But, if you are like me, my love of food is often diminished by the self-importance and pretense surrounding of-the-moment chef-owned eateries.

That's why I love Graham Elliott's tablecloth-loathing and his ilk. Graham, who I feature in the latest episode of The Inc. Life, finds truffles as fascinating as Twinkies. His passion for transforming familiar supermarket staples like Cheez-Its, Rice Krispies, Twinkies, popcorn, and fried eggs into high-concept fare introduces a sense of whimsy and grooviness to the highfalutin' world of cuisine.

In Graham's kitchen, Budweiser bubbles twinkle atop a spicy chicken dish. Twinkies are worked into Caesar salad croutons. Fois gras and Pop Rocks are partnered for a amuse bouche lollipop. A library of inexpensive artisinal beers compliment a lively cocktail menu. Forget snobbery. Creativity and risk taking is what is rocking the food world.

Published on: Jan 13, 2009