© Ed Anderson

Matthew Accarrino

Restaurant: SPQR

Location: San Francisco

Why He's Amazing: He's the mad genius of handmade pasta, creating primi like Meyer lemon spaghetti and mustard capellini. The minute Accarrino leaves his kitchen, he heads to his Napa Valley garden, where he experiments with fruits and vegetables at every stage of ripeness.

Quintessential Dish: Smoked fettuccine with bacon, sea urchin and quail egg.

Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.

Restaurant CV: Olives, Oceana, RM Seafood, Per Se, Craft, Craftsteak, Craftbar, New York City; Craft Los Angeles.

Alternative Career Choice: Growing up, Accarrino wanted to be a professional cyclist. A tumor in his leg forced him to change his plans. He spent two years at home recovering and watching Julia Child and Jacques Pépin, and decided he wanted to become a chef.

All-Time Favorite Cookbook: The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller.

Restaurant: SPQR (Read a review)

Location: San Francisco

Why He's Amazing: Because he incorporates secrets he learned from some of America's greatest chefs, like Thomas Keller and Tom Colicchio, in his phenomenal updates on traditional Italian dishes.

Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)

background: Olives, Oceana, RM Seafood, Per Se, Craft, Craftsteak, Craftbar (/sites/default/files/ew York City); Craft Los Angeles

Quintessential Dish: Smoked fettuccine with bacon, sea urchin and quail egg

Alternative Career Choice: Growing up, Accarrino wanted to be a professional cyclist.

Favorite Cookbook of All Time: Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook. "When I went through it, I found so much information tucked into the recipes and headnotes, little techniques like peeling the favas before you blanch them, which I still do to this day. People who trained me had told me to peel favas, but no one had ever explained why. In the book, Keller explained that the peel traps gases that will brown the beans when they're cooked, so peeling them helps them stay greener. Little things like that, from this absolute perfectionist who takes everything to the thousandth degree, all helped shape how I cook today."

Technique Everyone Should Know: How to use xanthan gum. "It can add viscosity to just about anything that has water in it, without requiring any heat. It doesn't taste like anything, either—it's pretty magical. And it's inexpensive."-->