Photo © Jim Graham

Eli Kulp

Restaurant: Fork

Location: Philadelphia

Why He's Amazing: In one of the country's most exciting new restaurant cities, he has revitalized a local standby with exceptional Italian-accented dishes. His remarkable baking program includes a tasting of meat, seafood and vegetable breads: dry-aged beef brioche, squid-ink sponge bread and sour rye bread with dehydrated beets.

Quintessential Dish: Roast lamb with charred eggplant and olive crumble.

Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.

Restaurant CV: Torrisi Italian Specialties, Casa Lever, La Fonda del Sol, Del Posto, New York City.

First Job in a Kitchen: At age 14, he was hired as a dishwasher in Mossyrock, Washington, where he grew up.

Equipment He Wishes Someone Would Invent: A vacuum to suck up the ashes at his new grill restaurant, a.kitchen. "We have this new charcoal grill, but the ash suffocates the coals. I want a vacuum that will handle 1,000-degree ash. I wish there was a grill sensei: Someone who could design a grill that's exactly right for you and has solutions for all your grill problems," he says.

Restaurant: Fork (Read a review)

Location: Philadelphia

Why He's Amazing: Because he's masterfully taken over Philly's much-lauded, 16-year-old Fork with inventive dishes such as crab-apple soup with peekytoe crab and bay leaf powder.

Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)

background: Torrisi Italian Specialties, Casa Lever, La Fonda del Sol, Del Posto (/sites/default/files/ew York City)

Quintessential Dish: Roast lamb with charred eggplant and olive crumble

First Job in a Kitchen: At age 14, he was hired as a dishwasher in Mossyrock, Washington, where he grew up.

How Working at Del Posto Informs His Cooking Today: "Del Posto was sort of the shaping of my Italian experience. I don't do traditional Italian, I'm not trying to do Italian, but I take that perspective and approach. I make it something that's very comfortable but modern." For example, Kulp salts and dehydrates pieces of shaved cantaloupe and watermelon to make a sort of vegan prosciutto he pairs with buffalo mozzarella. And he makes pappardelle from grains that are deliberately burned before being milled and mixed into dough, to give the pasta a super-earthy flavor.

Advice to Budding Chefs: "Find a restaurant you connect with. Don't worry what you're going to get paid—take it as a craft that you're learning, not a paycheck you're earning. The more time you put in, the faster you'll learn." -->