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Clayton Miller

Chef Clayton Miller
Photo courtesy of Clayton Miller

Born: Sewickley, Pennsylvania; 1971.

Education: Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts; Pittsburgh.

Experience: The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, Atlanta; Daniel and Tabla, New York City; The French Laundry, Yountville, California; The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grand Lakes, Florida.

What he learned at the French Laundry: Attention to the most minute detail. "In the middle of my interview with Thomas Keller, he was giving me a tour of the kitchen, and suddenly he dropped down on his knees and started wiping down a counter. And I was like, Should I start wiping it down too?"

Equipment obsession: His LEM meat grinder. "I bought it at the Bass Pro Shop."

Local hangout snack: Tapas at 2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria in Washington, DC, which serves small plates like marinated sardines and pork rillette. "I've never even had the pizza there; I order whatever is on display on the counter."

Guilty pleasure: Buffalo wings with buttery Frank's Redhot sauce.

Favorite cookbook: The French Laundry Cookbook. "I was cooking in New York City when it came out. One of the guys I worked with had the book and let me take it home for two days. I sat in my apartment and read it cover-to-cover."

Big Food & Wine moment: "When I was living in New York in 1999, I was going up the escalator at a Barnes & Noble. A display of the Food & Wine Best New Chefs issue came into view, and I saw Dale Reitzer, whom I'd worked with in Atlanta, on the cover. It was like a scene from a movie. I was happy for him, but jealous, too."

1 recipe by Chef Clayton Miller
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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.