Tim Cushman Why he won Because his wonderful, contemporary Japanese menu cleverly references his native New England.Born Millis, MA; 1953.Experience Trumps and 385 North, Los Angeles; corporate chef, Lettuce Entertain You, Chicago.Early food-science experiment Winning the fifth-grade science fair at his school with a presentation on maple syrup, which he’d tapped, boiled down and displayed in test tubes in different stages.How he got into cooking “I went to L.A. to work in the music business. I didn’t have a car, so I had to get a job that I could walk to. There was a small restaurant down the street called Courtney’s, and I started out as a prep cook there.”How he got to cook all over the world Working for Lettuce Entertain You. “I’d travel from Thailand to Mexico to Italy to Japan, doing research. Whenever they launched a new concept, I’d create the menu and open the restaurant. I’ve opened 60 restaurants around the world, from steak houses and sushi places to tapas joints and pizzerias.” 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.