Christopher Kostow

Best new Chef 2009 Chris Kostow
Photo courtesy of Christopher Kostow

Why he won Because his superlative modern Californian menu owes as much to his garden as to his mastery of avant-garde cooking techniques.

Born 1976 Raised Highland Park, IL

Experience Georges at the Cove, La Jolla, CA; Chez Georges, Paris; La Terrasse, Côte d’Azur; Elisabeth Daniel and Campton Place, San Francisco.

Equipment obsession“I’m using my combi oven [an oven that also steams and poaches food] more than ever. I use it for steaming things like squid omelets and slow-cooked eggs.”

Childhood food memory “I used to go fishing with my dad in Ontario, Canada, with a Native American guide. We’d bring a bag of cornmeal, a skillet and some lard, and we’d fry up the fish. It was the greatest thing in the world.”

Fantasy restaurant An old-school Jewish deli with local, house-made ingredients. “I’d stage at Katz’s in New York City for a few months.”

Favorite cookbook Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook. “All my cooks say it made them want to be chefs.”