Kelly Courtney

Why Because she successfully transplants the California farm-produce fetish to the capital of the Midwestern farm belt.

Born 1967, Columbia, SC.

Experience Square One and Stars, San Francisco.

Earliest food memory Eating wild pig roasted on a sugarcane spit while living with her grandmother in Pahokee, in south Florida.

First thing cooked Pan-fried bluegills she caught herself.

How she learned to hunt From her father. "We'd get quail, turkey, deer, ducks. It's not a sport for him; he only hunts for what he eats."

Vice Smoked oysters on Triscuits.

Dislike "I hate button mushrooms more than anything in the world."

Favorite musician Dolly Parton.

Ambition "I really want a farm and the tackiest ranch house I can find, with sliding glass doors and a pool with a slide and a tiki bar out back. the full Boogie Nights setup."

About her recipe Courtney says her Brined Pork Chops with Mascarpone Mac and Cheese "screams of the American dinner table, but it also has a superclean, modern feel."

Won Best New Chef at: Mod, Chicago (closed)