Laurent Tourondel

Background Born in the Auvergne, France. Worked at Ledoyen, Paris; Potel & Chabot, Moscow; Troisgros, Roanne, France; C.T., New York City.

How he got into cooking "I was very bad at school; I had no choice."

First food memory "Grandmother's quail with raisins and foie gras, my favorite dish when I was eight."

Favorite equipment Peppermill.

Favorite cookbook The 1870 edition of Brillat-Savarin's Physiology of Taste.

Favorite place to eat Brasserie Lipp, Paris.

Favorite cocktail Caipirinhas, the potent Brazilian drink made with sugarcane liquor and lime juice.

Weirdest food he's ever eaten Snake, in Africa.

Food forecast "Russian food will get really popular one day."

Favorite 1 A.M. meal Country bread with melted mozzarella and tapenade.

Food vice Spicy chicken wings.

Recipe tip When you crush garlic, cover it in plastic wrap first to keep your cutting board from smelling.

Won Best New Chef at: Palace Court, Las Vegas (closed)