Each year, when FOOD & WINE travels from state to state in search of the country's most talented culinary newcomers, we leave our preconceptions at home. The 10 winners of our Best New Chefs in America award, culled from hundreds of nominations from our nationwide network of food experts, might turn up anywhere: this year we found one in a Phoenix mall, another in a New Orleans suburb. All we ask is that they've been in charge of a kitchen for at least one year but not more than five. Oh, there is one more thing: they've got to be brilliant, thrilling, original cooks. And they are.

    By Kate Krader and Monica F. Forrestall