Why he won Because he ingeniously combines a classic Italian cooking sensibility with avant-garde techniques. Experience Ristorante San Domenico in Imola, Italy; Spiaggia and Trio, in the Chicago area; the Fat Duck in Bray, England.
How long he lasted at cooking school One semester, at Chicago's Cooking and Hospitality Institute. "Then I got a bill and it inspired me to go to Europe. I took my next semester's money and went to Italy for a year." Most humbling moment Breaking the head chef's knife at San Domenico. "He'd had the knife since he was 19. I had to go hide and cry. I gave him one of my knives, but he wasn't really a huge fan of it. I'm notorious for having dull knives."