Guillermo Pernot

Background Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Worked at Cafe Casanova ("I knew that name would come back to haunt me") and The Rittenhouse Hotel, Philadelphia; Allioli, Miami.

How he got into cooking "I always had great parties, and my friends said I should open a restaurant."

Menu bomb Mondongo, or tripesoup. "But when I call it pepper pot, customers order it."

Favorite place to eat Patria, New York City.

Secret of his success His staff.

Weirdest food he's ever eaten Bull testicles on a ranch outside Buenos Aires. "Delicious, actually."

Food vice Chocolate. "My daughter hides her candy from me."

Recipe tip Use very coarse polenta to give tamales better texture.

Won Best New Chef at: Vega Grill, Philadelphia (closed)