Why Because he deftly adds international influences to French dishes to create straightforward yet luxurious cuisineusing phyllo, for instance, to wrap tuna tartare.
Born Boston, 1969.
Education Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI.
Experience Olives and No. 9 Park, Boston; Patina and Campanile, Los Angeles.
Why he became a chef "I'm Armenian-Syrian, so I grew up with a lot of food. I worked as a short-order cook to make money to buy drums; at some point the creativity I channeled into music flipped into cooking."
On working for a celebrity chef "Cooking with Todd English at Olives was like being a rock star. The exposure and traveling were unbelievable."
Most humbling moment "Todd was doing a chocolate risotto demo. I spaced out and added onions. I had to stand with my back to the audience and pick the onions out."
Source of inspiration Cookbooks, from classics like Larousse Gastronomique to Marco Pierre White's White Heat (1990). "Last time I was at New York City's Kitchen Arts & Letters, I dropped $1,000. That's when they took my credit card away."
Career he'd pursue if he weren't a chef "I'm a huge ADD guy, so I'd work on the stock exchange or do something that would constantly demand my attention."
Won Best New Chef at: Pigalle; Boston
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.