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
This colorful salad of green and yellow beans and waxy potatoes reminds Jonathan Benno of his brief stint in the kitchen at Al Di Là, a wildly popular Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. His friend Anna Klinger, the chef and co-owner, taught him how to make this deliciously tangy dressing, a mix of anchovies, poached garlic and olive oil.Plus: More Vegetable Recipes and Tips
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Before grilling these small hens, Jonathan Benno butterflies them, cutting out the backbones with kitchen scissors or a sturdy knife so they can be flattened. "It's the best way to cook a bird all the way on a grill," he says. "You get those nice grill marks, and by the time the chicken's got good color on both sides, it's cooked all the way through." Amazing Chicken Recipes