Wylie Dufresne

Why Because he absorbed many of the ideas of his mentor, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and has plenty of his own, too.

Born 1970, Providence.

Education The French Culinary Institute, New York City.

Experience Jo Jo and Jean Georges, New York City; Prime, Las Vegas.

First food memory Watching his great-grandmother pick rhubarb.

Perks of working in Vegas Living in the Mirage for six months and learning to play blackjack.

Food vice American cheese. "There's nothing wrong with stacking up 10 or 12 slices and putting the whole thing in your mouth."

Ingredient crush Black soybeans. "They smell and taste like corn."

What worries him Mad-cow disease. "I want that thing solved, or we won't have any beef in 10 years. Come on, we need hamburgers!"

About his recipe The chive oil in Dufresne's Sea Bass with Edamame-Rye Crust shows Vongerichten's influence, but the rye crumbs are original. "Rye is one of my favorite breads."

Won Best New Chef at: 71 Clinton Fresh Food, New York City (closed)