Chef Bios: Jonathan Benno

Thomas Keller's right-hand man in New York steps out on his own.

Chef Jonathan Benno

Jonathan Benno rose to fame by working as the Chef de Cuisine under Thomas Keller at Per Se for nine years. This year, Benno has stepped out on his own with Lincoln, a contemporary Italian restaurant that is a departure from his classic French roots.

Benno was born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut. As a teen, he landed his first job in a professional kitchen as a dishwasher The Oxford House in Oxford, Connecticut. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1993, Benno moved to the West Coast to work for Michael Mina at Aqua. From there, he left to work at The French Laundry.

Not long after, Benno moved back east to work under Daniel Boulud at Daniel and Christian Delouvrier at Les Celebrites. Delouvrier encouraged Benno to further develop his culinary skills by traveling abroad, so he went to work at Auberge du Vieux Puits in Fontjoncouse, France.

Upon his return to the states, Benno worked briefly at Gramercy Tavern before taking on the role of Sous Chef at Tom Colicchio's newly opened Craft. Next, Benno was tapped by Thomas Keller to work with him on his new venture, Per Se.

As the Chef de Cuisine at Per Se, Benno was named one of America’s Best New Chefs by Food and Wine Magazine in 2006. In late 2009, Benno announced that he would be leaving Per Se to pursue the opening of his first restaurant, Lincoln, located at Lincoln Center.

Culinary Style: French
Restaurants: Lincoln
Born: 1969
Did You Know? Jonathan Benno’s secret dream job is to be a BMW motorcycle mechanic.