Thomas John

Why Because his creative, multidimensional and exquisite dishes make us understand why Indian fusion has caught on.

Born New Delhi, India, 1965.

Education The Oberoi School of Hotel Management, New Delhi.

Experience Le Meridien, Pune, India; Radisson Hotel, New Delhi.

How he describes his food "I like to use very simple ingredients. The concentration of flavors is the result of French technique and the judicious use of Indian spicing."

Favorite childhood dish A fish called karimeen wrapped in banana leaves and cooked with curry leaves, coconut milk and fresh black pepper.

Dish he hates Burgers. "I never serve them. I think it's unsexy for people to eat them."

Where he would eat on a $1,000 budget Chez Nico, a French restaurant in London run by chef Nico Ladenis, who earned notoriety when he rejected his Michelin three-star rating. "Ladenis is my idol. He is an innovator and a relentless perfectionist, uncompromising in his approach to cooking."

Where he would eat on a $10 budget "I'd probably go hungry."

If he could travel anywhere Kuala Lumpur. "The normal greeting is 'Have you eaten?'"

What he likes about working in the United States "The agricultural bounty that's available in America provides me with an almost limitless pantry from which to create, like a mad Indian scientist."

About his recipe To guarantee perfect results for his curried scallop salad, John says, "Use absolutely fresh ingredients. And it's important to sear the scallops over high heat to ensure caramelization."

Won Best New Chef at: Mantra, Boston