Danielle Custer

Background Trained at the Culinary Institute of America. Worked at Fullers, Seattle; Lola, New York City.

How she got into cooking Started making dough in a New York City pizzeria when she was 13.

First sign she'd become a chef "When I stayed home sick from school, I'd cook all day; my parents would come back to entire meals."

First food memory "An ice cream sandwich, when I was one."

Favorite food city New York. "It's always good, from the diviest dive to the ritziest Ritz."

Ingredient picks Greens and cheese. "Monique Barbeau of Fullers said that when I die I'll be buried with a bunch of watercress and a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano."

Favorite equipment A hot water urn. "Hot water can fix anything, from a broken sauce to a too-thick soup."

Favorite cocktail Metaxa sidecar. "It's like a margarita made with Greek brandy."

Most tired trend Steak houses.

Weirdest food she's ever eaten Guinea pig.

Favorite 1 A.M. meal Quesadillas.

Food vice Brownies.

Recipe tip When grilling greens, make sure that the pan is very hot. Grill greens in a clump; if you spread them too thinly, they burn.

Won Best New Chef at: Laurels, Dallas (closed)