John Harris

Why Because with his precise technique, premium ingredients and aversion to unnecessary flourishes, he taps into the essence of French and Italian cooking.

Born Chicago, IL, 1971.

Education Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, Pittsburgh.

Experience Spiaggia, Chicago; Bayona and Gautreau's, New Orleans.

How he describes his food "I try to use only three main flavors. And I don't go for flowery presentations."

Most popular dish on his menu White-truffle Parmesan on toast with mushrooms, marrow and veal glacé.

Food he hates Green bell peppers. "I can't stand them. I never order them for the restaurant."

Where he would eat on a $1,000 budget Ginza Sushi-Ko in Beverly Hills. "The chef, Masa Takayama, sounds really whimsical. I like the idea of interacting with him and having him prepare random things for me."

Where he would eat on a $10 budget "I'd get a roast beef po'boy at Monica's, a grocery up the street."

Why he named his restaurant Lilette While apprenticing in France, Harris lived with the Mauri family, whose matriarch, Lilette, was an inspired cook. "She's honored about the name. She sent me a flower from her garden to put in the dining room."

About his recipe To make the fritters in his seared tuna puttanesca dish, Harris says, "I cook the fennel until it's mushy and sweet and then fry it until it's crisp."

Won Best New Chef at: Lilette, New Orleans