1998 America's Best New Chefs | Rene Michelena

La Bettola, Boston

Age: 32

Background: Born in the Philippines. Trained at The Culinary School of Kendall College, Evanston, IL. Worked at Charlie Trotter's, Chicago; Sign of the Dove, New York City.

How he got into cooking: "I was working at a restaurant to pay for my medical school bills when I realized I just couldn't look at paramecia for 10 more years."

Favorite food city: New York. "I gained lots of weight working there."

Weirdest food he's ever eaten: Boiled duck embryos, a Philippine delicacy.

Most tired trend: Seared tuna. "I won't even eat tuna sushi anymore."

Recipe tip: To make sure oil is hot enough to fry potato slices, drop one in--bubbles should form around it.

Info: 480 Columbus Ave.; 617-236-5252.

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