1998 America's Best New Chefs | Guillermo Pernot
Vega Grill, Philadelphia
background: Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Worked at Cafe Casanova (/sites/default/files/ 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.
Info: 4141 Main St.; 215-487-9600.