Jim Burke

Best New Chef 2008: Jim Burke
Photo courtesy of Jim Burke.

Why he won Because his sophisticated, northern Italian–influenced cooking celebrates local producers. “In Pennsylvania, we don’t have the longest growing season, so it makes you creative,” he says.

Born Philadelphia; 1973.

Experience Adam’s Mark Hotel and Vetri, Philadelphia; Frosio Ristoranti, Almé, Italy.

What he learned from working in Italy “I went there thinking I would come back knowing how to make the perfect gnocchi, the perfect ragù. But instead I came back with a sense of what cooking is. I learned that I have to make my own ragù, not the perfect one.”

What keeps him going His wife, Kristina. “I cook, and she does everything else in the restaurant. I see her work that hard, and I know that I have to keep up my end of the bargain. It’s fun, man.”

Favorite cookbook Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. “That one laid the foundation for me. It’s really Italian in its sensibility. The recipes are great, but her food descriptions are especially good.”