Why she won Because she has imbued a 25-year-old New Orleans restaurant with fresh energy, deftly adding modern European touches to a classic menu.
Born Wilkes-Barre, PA; 1981.
Education Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.
Experience Oceana, New York City; Commander’s Palace, New Orleans.
Favorite childhood dish Pierogies, which she would make with her grandmother Elizabeth Yanok for their local church fund-raisers. “We’d fill them with wild mushrooms that we’d foraged. All the old ladies would yell at us that we were doing it wrong.”
Favorite after-hours hangout d.b.a., in New Orleans. “It’s a great, beautiful bar. I get vodka and soda in a plastic cup. My father owned a bar, so I know that plastic cups are the best way to go—a bar sink isn’t always the most sanitary place.”
Favorite cookbook Alain Ducasse’s Grand Livre de Cuisine. “It’s, like, 1,000 pages. I don’t really use the recipes, but I always find inspiration there.”