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Best New Chefs

Michael Carlson

2006 Best New Chef Award Profile

Why he won Because he ingeniously combines a classic Italian cooking sensibility with avant-garde techniques.
Born Chicago; 1974.
Experience Ristorante San Domenico in Imola, Italy; Spiaggia and Trio, in the Chicago area; the Fat Duck in Bray, England.
How long he lasted at cooking school One semester, at Chicago's Cooking and Hospitality Institute. "Then I got a bill and it inspired me to go to Europe. I took my next semester's money and went to Italy for a year."
Most humbling moment Breaking the head chef's knife at San Domenico. "He'd had the knife since he was 19. I had to go hide and cry. I gave him one of my knives, but he wasn't really a huge fan of it. I'm notorious for having dull knives."
On working at the Fat Duck "[Chef] Heston Blumenthal is a really cool cat—he'd take you to the picnic table out back, make sure you had a notebook and then explain things: 'This is how a congealing agent works.'"
What he'd be if he wasn't a chef "I'd be the world-famous poker player with the cowboy hat and sunglasses sitting in the corner."

WEB EXCLUSIVE! Read more of our interview with Michael Carlson

Restaurants
Schwa
1466 N. Ashland Ave. Chicago, IL, United States
(773)252-1466
1 recipes by Michael Carlson

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.