Michael Toscano

Restaurant: Montmartre (Read a review), Perla

Location: New York City

Why He's Amazing: Because he's putting his talent for cooking all things meat into a cool, old-school French brasserie menu.

Culinary School: American Culinary Federation apprenticeship at the Pinehurst Resort (Pinehurst, NC)

background: Perla, Bouchon Bakery, Babbo, Manzo (/sites/default/files/ew York City)

Quintessential Dish: Coq au vin jaune for two

How he got into cooking: "I played golf in high school. I got a job at the club so I could practice [golf] every day. Through practicing and working at the club, I got to know the chef. Around this time, I was watching lots of Iron Chef Japan, and I became intrigued by all of it, for some reason…. I would ask the chef at the club all sorts of questions, and he was very helpful. Eventually, he offered me a job in the kitchen instead of being out on the course. I started out as a dishwasher, but I loved it. I ended up being a cook there, and that was it."

What He Cooks at Home: When time permits, "I love cooking Mexican food like my mother and father cooked when I was young: caldo de pollo, tamales, barbacoa de res, tostadas, and my all-time favorite, menudo (beef tripe soup)."

Ingredient He Can't Live Without: Vinegar. It makes food "bright and sharp."