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Peter Serpico

Chef Peter Serpico
Photo © Michael Persico

Restaurant: Serpico (Read a review)

Location: Philadelphia

Why He's Amazing: Because while the menu at his eponymous restaurant includes nods to his days with David Chang (e.g., the pork bun–style deep–fried duck leg sandwich with hoisin and pickles), Serpico's food is wildly inventive and all his own.

Culinary School: Baltimore International College (Baltimore)

Background: Momofuku Ko, Ssäm Bar, Noodle Bar, Jovia, Sumile, 5 Ninth, Bouley (New York City)

Quintessential Dish: Cope's corn ravioli with chorizo, white cheese, pickled and roasted onions, sour cream and lime

First Job: Washing dishes at a pizza joint when he was 15. "I worked really hard and I made good money at the time, for being 15."

On How His Dishes Evolve: "It's in your head, you make it, you put it on a plate, you taste it, and then—you rip it apart. Why is it not good? What are the reasons we don't like it? Execution? Shelf life on the plate? Not that interesting? We break it down . . . so it's never going to be, 'Why is this good?' I don't want to focus on that because once you stop and say 'This is good,' you remove the possibility of it becoming better. There's a problem if we're just putting up dishes and everyone's high-fiving over it."

Sweet on Bitter: "Bitterness is one of the flavor profiles people talk about negatively. But I like bitterness when it's controlled, because it can bring something really different to a dish."

When He's Not Cooking: "I love spending time with my dog, a Rottweiler–black lab mix named Bailey."

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