Why Because, along with co-chef Michael Anthony, he is pushing American food in new and unpredictable directions.
Born New York, NY, 1969.
Education French Culinary Institute, New York City.
Experience Bouley, New York City; Chez Panisse, Berkeley, CA; Campanile and La Brea Bakery, Los Angeles.
How he describes his food "Cozy and approachable. I like to underpromise and overdeliver."
Favorite childhood food "My aunt made scrambled eggs for me when I had tonsillitis. I still remember the wonderful taste of the eggs."
Where he would eat on a $1,000 budget "I'd bribe Fredy Girardet to cook for me at home. I always wanted to go to his restaurant [Girardet] in Crissier, Switzerland. He retired before I could."
Biggest kitchen disaster "At La Brea, I forgot to salt 1,200 pounds of rosemary dough on the first day they let me mix. The dough fell flat like a pizza. I heard [co-owner] Nancy Silverton say, 'I can't let this kid ruin my career.' "
About his recipe Barber says that the lettuce soup he created with Michael Anthony is "a different way of looking at romaine. We think of it mainly for its texture, but it has its own distinctive flavor, and pureeing it into a soup brings that out."
Won Best New Chef at: Blue Hill, New York City