Gerard Craft

Best New Chef 2008: Gerard Craft
Photo © Henry Leutwyler

Why he won Because, in a historic St. Louis neighborhood, he prepares a deceptively simple, drop-dead-delicious pork-oriented menu.

Born Burlington, VT; 1979.

Experience Bistro Toujours, Park City, UT; Ryland Inn, Whitehouse, NJ; Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles.

How he got into cooking “I dropped out of college in Salt Lake City and was washing cars. That wasn’t fun, so I started washing dishes at Fats Grill & Pool, and they let me cook.”

Early food experiences “My family is full of food lovers—my brother has wanted to eat at every Michelin three-star restaurant since he was 14. On my 13th birthday I had my first mussels in Normandy, France, right after chocolate crêpes. But I hated food until I went to boarding school in Idaho and saw how bad it could be.”

Favorite thing about St. Louis “It’s more food-oriented than anyone thinks. There are a million food blogs, and even a food magazine, Sauce.”