Why Because his Southwestern-inspired American cuisine is innovative, earthy and familiar.
Born Endicott, NY, 1974.
Education The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.
Experience The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas.
Why he became a chef "My grandparents owned a small Italian restaurant in upstate New York. As a teenager, I would sit in the back room with my grandmother, peeling garlic, chatting and learning how to cook."
How he copes with the long hours "Growing up, I'd watch my mom work two or three jobs. That work ethic taught me how to be a chef. I always wanted to make the family proud, to say thanks."
Biggest kitchen disaster "When I was an extern at The Peabody hotel in Orlando, Florida, I had to make a concassé out of 15 cases of tomatoes, and I completely overcooked them. They didn't fire me, but I wasn't in charge of the tomatoes anymore."
Won Best New Chef at: Driskill Grill, Austin, TX