Jonathan Benno Why he won Because he prepares clever, indulgent food that complements his boss Thomas Keller's but is completely his own.Born Bridgeport, Connecticut; 1969.Education Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York.Experience Aqua in San Francisco; the French Laundry in Yountville, California; Daniel, Les Célébrités, Gramercy Tavern and Craft, all in New York City.Career turning point "I was a horrible cook for a while. My eureka moment came somewhere around CIA/Aqua/the French Laundry; it was an eight-year turning point."Chef hero Legendary French chef Alain Chapel. "I have a picture of him in my office. He represents the classic image of a Michelin three-star chef who was utterly devoted to one restaurant."Favorite cheap eat Havana-Chelsea, a Cuban lunch counter on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. "I eat whatever's on the steam table that they're calling a special."Most heroic moment Helping the staff evacuate Per Se the night a fire broke out during their first week.WEB EXCLUSIVE! Read more of our interview with Jonathan Benno About Food & Wine Food & Wine, a Dotdash Meredith Brand, is an award-winning online resource for anyone passionate about the culinary world. With rigorously tested recipes and the most trusted restaurant, drinks, culinary travel and home coverage, we inspire and empower people everywhere to discover, create, and devour the best in food and wine. Learn more about us and our editorial process.