Quilty's, New York City

Age: 34

Background: Trained at Johnson & Wales in Providence, RI. Worked at The Quilted Giraffe and Mesa Grill, New York City.

How she got into cooking: After dropping out of Middlebury College, she made soups at a local café.

First food memory: "Smoked octopus that my father brought back from Chinatown when I was 14."

Menu bomb: Roasted squab on herb risotto with zucchini blossoms.

Ingredient pick: Long Island corn.

Favorite equipment: "I'm not a big equipment person. I keep my knives nice and sharp and use them
instead of an industrial chopper."

Favorite cookbook: Anything written by Patricia Wells.

Favorite place to eat: Blue Ribbon, New York City.

Favorite cocktail Straight-up Beefeater martini with a twist.

Most tired trend: "Casual American bistros, where the menus seem to be driven by price, not flavor."

Secret of her success: "My husband, who's the dishwasher at home, would say I'm successful because I use every pot and pan in the kitchen."

Favorite 1 A.M. meal: "Any kind of pasta; or steak if it was a really hard night at the restaurant."

Food vice: Bar nuts.

Recipe tip: Constantly baste filet mignon with melted butter while it's cooking to keep it juicy.

Info: 177 Prince St.; 212-254-1260.

    By Kate Krader and Monica F. Forrestall