Jonathan Benno

Why he won Because he prepares clever, indulgent food that complements his boss Thomas Keller's but is completely his own.
Born Bridgeport, Connecticut; 1969.
Education Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York.
Experience Aqua in San Francisco; the French Laundry in Yountville, California; Daniel, Les Célébrités, Gramercy Tavern and Craft, all in New York City.
Career turning point "I was a horrible cook for a while. My eureka moment came somewhere around CIA/Aqua/the French Laundry; it was an eight-year turning point."
Chef hero Legendary French chef Alain Chapel. "I have a picture of him in my office. He represents the classic image of a Michelin three-star chef who was utterly devoted to one restaurant."
Favorite cheap eat Havana-Chelsea, a Cuban lunch counter on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. "I eat whatever's on the steam table that they're calling a special."
Most heroic moment Helping the staff evacuate Per Se the night a fire broke out during their first week.

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