Why Because he has successfully married classical French techniques with first-rate California ingredients.
Born Albuquerque, NM, 1965.
Education California Culinary Academy, San Francisco.
Experience The Ritz-Carlton Dining Room in San Francisco and Pascal's in Newport Beach.
First food memory Chili made by his mother, who grew up in Mexico.
Favorite machine A red Dodge pickup he uses to carry ingredients.
What he'd be if he weren't a chef An architect.
Favorite cookbook Larousse Gastronomique. "Even though it's old, I can always find something new in it."
Hobbies Downhill skiing, driving his 1966 Ford Mustang and hanging out with his one-year-old son and four-year-old daughter.
Favorite restaurant Ruby's Diner in Newport Beach. "My kids can wreck the place and I don't have to worry about it."
Pet peeve Mediocrity. "I love it when people do good things. I can even appreciate it when somebody's really bad. But being down the middle is a big issue for me."
Won Best New Chef at: Aubergine, Newport Beach, CA (closed)