Maria Hines

Why Because she's obsessed with finding the best fish, meat and produce, and smart in how she uses them in her extraordinary Pacific Northwestern menu: She finds three ways to serve tomatoes with her luscious cod.

Born Bowling Green, OH; 1972.

Education Culinary program at Mesa College, San Diego, CA.

Experience George's at the Cove in La Jolla, CA; L'Essentiel in Chambéry, France; Eleven Madison Park in New York City.

Why she became a chef "I remember peeling carrots at my first restaurant job, and thinking, 'I can't believe someone would pay me to peel carrots. It's so fun.'"

Pet peeve Cooks who slouch. "I know it's tedious to deleaf a case of parsley, but when you're in the kitchen, you need to look like you're working, not hanging out."

Favorite farmer "I love Linda Neunzig, who owns Ninety Farms [in Arlington, WA]. I told her I wanted squash the size of her little daughter's hand. And it comes in that way each day."

Favorite childhood dish Her mom's macaroni and cheese. "It's what we had for lunch when she let me play hooky from school."

Pre-marathon training diet "I did a recipe for Runner's World on the best training dish with tuna, pasta and tomatoes. But what I really ate before the Seattle Marathon was beer, bourbon and doughnuts."

Won Best New Chef at: Earth & Ocean; Seattle