Scott Dolich

Why Because his fanatically ingredient-driven approach makes even the most basic dishes sublime. "My produce rocks," Dolich says. "It's one of the things I love about Oregon."

Born Bronx, NY, 1968.

Education The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.

Experience The Lark Creek Inn, Larkspur, CA; Higgins, Portland, OR.

Why he became a chef "When I was a student at Duke University, I got a job as a butcher. I'd bring home the leftovers and cook them up for friends who'd pay me—it was an unofficial restaurant. It dawned on me that some people do this for a living."

Most eye-opening job Working as a kitchen porter at the Lark Creek Inn. "We were getting fantastic ingredients from 20 different producers; my job was to store everything. It was amazing how hard it is to maintain good products."

Most controversial menu item Hot dogs. "I make them with good-quality meat and serve them on brioche buns. But some people say, 'What's up with that $7 hot dog?'"

Favorite thing about Portland "The food community is so supportive. We have bocce courts outside the restaurant, and chefs come over and play after work, sometimes until late. We've got to be the first bocce game to be broken up by the cops."

Won Best New Chef at: Park Kitchen; Portland, OR