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How he got into the food business. Through Stan Bromley, who, until his retirement in 2005, was considered one of the best general managers in the industry. Bromley took a five-year-old Keane under his wing when he was at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn.

Hardest job. "When I was at Cornell, I had to spend one summer working the front of the house at the Four Seasons in Washington, DC. It just wasn't for me. But I never made more money in my life. One day, when I was at the concierge desk, I was smelling the flowers and a guy gave me $100. A Saudi Arabian prince had checked in and they were tipping everyone. So I got $100 just for smelling the flowers."

Biggest influences. Gray Kunz ("for flavors and sheer cooking—when I'm trying to find a flavor, I ask what would Chef Kunz have done?") and Traci Des Jardins, chef/co-owner of Jardinière in San Francisco.

Most humbling moment. "At Jardinière, I was the guy who cooked the foie gras terrines. We're talking like 15 lobes of foie gras, it was a full day's worth of work. One day, I forgot to pull the terrines out of the oven. I couldn't even look at Traci Des Jardins. I still cringe when I think about it. Traci wouldn't let me pay for it, so I went to accounting and secretly paid for it. I never told her."

Ingredient obsession. Ramps. "I grew up in Michigan, and there's a good amount of ramps there. Plus, Gray Kunz was obsessed with pickling them."

What he loves about his menu. "There are no restrictions. I built Cyrus so that I can do whatever I want. In the past, I'd have to say, we can't do truffled risotto on Saturday night, it's too busy, or that dish is too luxurious. I never say that now."

Favorite local cheap eat. El Taco Grande, around the corner from Cyrus. "I get the Quesadilla Suiza—I have no idea what it means, but I get it with chicken."

Favorite guilty pleasure. In-N-Out burgers.

What he'd be if he weren't a chef. "I'd do what Jane Goodall did and go to Africa and work with gorillas. I'm obsessed with monkeys."

Favorite hobby. Gardening "It's like working in a kitchen — there's intrinsic reward and immediate satisfaction. In a garden, you can see your work getting accomplished."

Food trend he dislikes. "I don't get the use of chemicals and stabilizers that transform food into something it's not. I personally don't understand El Bulli—but I'd like to go experience it to see what everyone is talking about."

Favorite cooking show. "I don't watch Food Network. But I did work on Jacques Pépin's show [Encore With Claudine]. He could not be a nicer human being. Plus, he can cook."

Favorite customers. "Recently four people came in to the kitchen after their dinner and literally started clapping."