Best In Class (Slideshow)

#60 Anthony Martin, Tru

Anthony Martin's flavor combinations are described by the Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel as "maddeningly subtle, driving over-analytical foodies to despair." Currently the executive chef at renowned French restaurant Tru, known for its selection of caviar, Martin previously worked under chef Guenter Seeger. In 2010, the year he took over the Tru kitchen, Martin was named Chef of the Year by the Chicago Tribune.

#59 Tony Maws, Craigie on Main

Tony Maws learned to cook by traveling and watching the masters, namely Chris Schlesinger, Mark Miller, Ken Oringer, Bernard Constantin, and Roland Passot, all of whom he worked with during his early days as a chef. While cooking in France, Maws was inspired by the overall French culinary experience and returned to Cambridge, Mass., to make his newfound idea a reality at his restaurant Craigie on Main. Here, creative dishes are made with simple and fresh ingredients and the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxing.

#58 Johnny Monis, Komi

Chef Johnny Monis dropped out of culinary school because he felt he was learning more working at a restaurant than sitting in a classroom. Currently, he is the chef at Washington, D.C.'s Komi, where the Greek-inspired tasting menu changes regularly but is kept a secret until dinner is served.

#57 Nicole Krasinski, State Bird Provisions

Known for her ice cream sandwich — a frozen sabayon sandwiched between two macaron cookies — Nicole Krasinski is the co-owner and co-chef of San Francisco's State Bird Provisions, where fried quail is the signature dish. Krasinski realized her passion for pastry while studying photography at the Art Institute of Chicago. She was inspired while working a summer job in the kitchen of Red Hen Bread with Nancy Carey, who became her mentor.

#56 Stuart Brioza, State Bird Provisions

The co-owner and co-chef of San Francisco's State Bird Provisions alongside his wife Nicole Krasinski, Stuart Brioza has been working in the kitchen since he was 15 years old, and realized pretty quickly that it was what he wanted to do with his life. He's worked under John Hogan and has mastered the culinary styles and dishes of the Californian, French, Asian, and Mediterranean cultures. State Bird Provisions, which won the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in 2013, is known for its signature dish of fried quail — California's state bird — marinated in buttermilk and encrusted with bread and pepita crumbs.

#55 Ken Oringer, Clio

From French to Mexican, Ken Oringer's culinary capabilities reflect his international travels and cooking experiences. One of his most noted restaurants, Clio, has received countless awards, including Best French Restaurant by Boston Magazine and a spot on Gourmet Magazine's Top 50 Restaurants in America list. Oringer, who began cooking under David Burke , was named James Beard Best Chef in the Northeast in 2001.

#54 Tim Cushman, O-Ya

After cooking around the world in Japan, France, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Taiwan, Tim Cushman returned to his native city of Boston to open O-Ya, an innovative Japanese restaurant. The restaurant was named the number one new restaurant in the United States by The New York Times food critic Frank Bruni in 2008 and one of the top 10 new restaurants in the world by Food & Wine magazine, among many other accolades. Influenced by Michael Roberts and Jose Lampreia, Cushman notes that his favorite cooking tools are extremely sharp knives, a quality cutting board, and a pair of tongs.

#53 Alan Wong, Alan Wong’s

Considered a godfather of modern Hawaiian cuisine, Alan Wong creates traditional cultural dishes with a contemporary twist using the finest island-grown ingredients at Alan Wong's, a Honolulu staple. While maintaining close relationships with Hawaii's farmers and agricultural society, Wong has won a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northwest and was named Master of Hawaii Regional Cuisine by Bon Appétit, among numerous other awards.

#52 Habteab Hamde, Bern’s Steak House

Originally from the African country Eritrea, where he grew up preparing meals for his family, Habteab Hamde is now the chef at Bern's Steak House, where it's all about excess, with 20 kinds of caviar, endless varieties of fish and shellfish, 16 different cheeses, nearly 50 desserts, and a list of about 7,000 wines. He loves cooking because it is so similar to chemistry, and his favorite ingredients to experiment with in the kitchen are garlic, tomato, and onion.

#51 Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, Frasca Food & Wine

Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson is the owner and chef of this inviting restaurant, which can offer either a casual, spontaneous dinner or an evening of fine dining. To hone his skills, he apprenticed with Benoit Guichard at the famous Jamin and has worked under Guy Guilloux at La Taupiniere. He loves working with citric acid, which he buys from a local health food store and uses to make ricotta in-house.

#50 José Andrés, é by José Andrés

Known as the king of Spanish food in America, José Andrés uses authentic ingredients and preparations, but adds avant-garde flair ¾ learned from his mentor Ferran Adrià ¾  at his Las Vegas restaurant é by José Andrés. Named Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2011, Andrés is an internationally recognized culinary innovator and an advocate for food and hunger issues.

#49 Michael Mina, Michael Mina

Owner of 17 restaurants, Michael Mina, who's also a big fan of Elvis, is one the most successful chefs and restaurateurs in the country, yet he still remains somewhat under the radar. His flagship restaurant, Michael Mina in San Francisco, has been widely praised for its Japanese- and French-inspired take on American ingredients. Ron Siegel, who worked under Mina for 20 years at Aqua and who won the Japanese Iron Chef competition, is Michael Mina's head chef.  

#48 Mike Lata, FIG

A self-taught chef who enjoys creating understated dishes with the simplest ingredients, Mike Lata is the chef at FIG in Charleston, S.C. He's committed to supporting local farmers, fisherman, and purveyors and earned the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast in 2009.

#47 Michael Tusk, Quince

Known for his refined and modern approach to regional Italian and French cuisines, Michael Tusk is the owner of one of San Francisco's top fine-dining restaurants, Quince, which features "Italian and French inspired tasting menus that celebrate the seasonal bounty of Northern California." Tusk was honored with a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Pacific in 2011 and when President Obama was in San Francisco for a fundraiser last year, Tusk was chosen to prepare the menu.

#46 César Ramirez, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

César Ramirez, of Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare — Brooklyn's only three-Michelin-starred restaurant — doesn't like to be called a chef. Like his mentor David Bouley, he prefers the term "craftsman" and says his food speaks for itself. He's been known to kick out disobedient diners who don't follow his rules about note- and photo-taking and, also to warn them against stealing his tableware mid-service.

#45 Daniel Patterson, Coi

Coi chef Daniel Patterson aims to stimulate not only palates but also minds with his cuisine. While he develops new recipes, he also explores the role that our sense of smell plays in how we experience the world. At the two-Michelin-starred Coi, rated the 58th best restaurant in the world according to San Pellegrino, Patterson blends classical cooking methods with modern techniques to create unusual dishes.

#44 Lee Hefter, CUT

A chef obsessed with Chinese barbecue, Lee Hefter reinvented the steakhouse with Los Angeles' CUT, which offers 17 cuts of steak. Barbara Tropp and Wolfgang Puck are two significant guiding forces in Hefter's career. He was awarded a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Pacific.

#43 Wolfgang Puck, Spago

Wolfgang Puck, the Austrian-born chef and inventor of California-style pizza, began cooking at his mother's side as a child and worked in some of France's finest restaurants at a young age. He runs dozens of restaurants ¾ Spago in Beverly Hills being his flagship ¾  writes cookbooks, hosts cooking shows, and has won countless awards.

#42 Tony Mantuano, Spiaggia

A past contestant on Top Chef Masters and winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Midwest, Tony Mantuano is the chef at Chicago's Spiaggia, where the food and décor are inspired by the Italian coast. He is also the chef and owner of Italian-inspired Terzo Piano, Mangia Trattoria, and Bar Toma.  

#41 Guy Savoy, Guy Savoy

World-renowned French chef Guy Savoy, of Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris as well as in Singapore and in Las Vegas, grew up in a small French town where his mother ran the local café. At 23 years old, he became an apprentice to the Troisgros brothers at their legendary Maison Troisgros restaurant. Savoy has received countless awards for each of his restaurants, including two Michelin stars, a spot on the Condé Nast Traveler Hot 100 list, and Wine Spectator magazine's Grand Award for his Las Vegas venue. That restaurant is the equal of the Parisian original — and boasts a view of the fake Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, which the Guy Savoy in Paris itself can't match.

#40 Mario Carbone, Torrisi Italian Specialties

Born into a family that made food a high priority, Mario Carbone did the same and claims he's "good at nothing else besides cooking." He's worked with Mark Ladner, Daniel Boulud, and Wylie Dufresne, who have all played a part in where he is today, as chef and co-owner, with Rich Torrisi, of New York City's Torrisi Italian Specialties, Parm, Carbone, and ZZ's Clam Bar.

#39 Rich Torrisi, Torrisi Italian Specialties

Inspired by his grandmother's cooking, Rich Torrisi followed his culinary passions to open his New York City restaurant Torrisi Italian Specialties with chef-partner Mario Carbone. Previously, Torrisi had worked with Andrew Carmellini. Today, he and Carbone run not only Torrisi but also Parm, Carbone, and ZZ's Clam Bar, all in New York City.

#38 Justin Smillie, II Buco Alimentari e Vineria

Justin Smillie began his cooking career at 17 years old working under Edward Stone and later under Christopher Beischer and Jonathan Waxman. Cooking with bold flavors and the traditions of Italian cuisine, Smillie is now the executive chef at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, where he was named Rising Star Chef by

#37 Michael Sichel, Galatoire’s

Before settling at Galatoire's, a historic New Orleans landmark and James Bead Award-winning restaurant where the food is classic French-Creole fusion, Michael Sichel trained and worked in restaurants in France, California, and New York. During the 2012 London Olympics, he prepared meals for athletes and their families in the USA House.

#36 The Pepe Family, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

In 1925, Italian-born Frank Pepe founded one of the oldest and best-known pizzerias in the United States, Pizzeria Napoletana. Pepe, whose grandchildren now own and operate the pizzeria, is generally accepted as having invented the clam pie as well as the thin-crust New Haven-style pizza. In the New Haven area, Pepe was known as "Old Reliable" for his love and contributions to the community.

#35 Paul Kahan, Blackbird

Born and raised in Chicago, Paul Kahan grew up around food. His father owned a delicatessen and smokehouse, and Kahan would help him "take the fish out of the brine, hang them on the racks, and wheel them into the smokehouse" as a child. As the executive chef at Blackbird, he's received many awards including Outstanding Chef and Best Chef in the Midwest from the James Beard Foundation. In addition to being a chef, Kahan is also an "ardent music lover and bike aficionado." Blackbird's chef de cuisine David Posey, who has worked under Grant Achatz, grew up cooking under the guidance of his mother and was drawn to the creative correlation between cooking and music.

#34 Patrick O’Connell, The Inn at Little Washington

A self-taught chef who's been referred to as "the Pope of American Cuisine," Patrick O'Connell opened his AAA Five Diamond Award-winning restaurant in 1978 in a former garage about an hour outside of Washington, D.C. Since then, O'Connell and the Inn have won five awards from the James Beard Foundation, including Restaurant of the Year, Best Chef of the Mid-Atlantic Region, and Outstanding Chef.

#33 Shigemi Kawahara, Ippudo

Also called the Ramen King after winning the title on a Japanese television show called TV Champion Ramen Chef three times in a row, Shigemi Kawahara runs Ippudo in New York City as well as more than 50 ramen shops in Japan, all of which are constantly crowded with customers eager to taste his famous ramen. His philosophy: "To continuously innovate to remain true" by offering fresh and quality ingredients and authentic Japanese cooking methods.

#32 Naomi Pomeroy, Beast

Naomi Pomeroy calls her cooking style "refined French grandmother," which she learned in part from her mother who spent time in France and from her Southern grandmother. Since opening her restaurant Beast, where the menu changes weekly and uses only local and sustainable ingredients, she's been recognized as one of the top six of a new generation of female chefs by Bon Appétit. Her guilty pleasure is mayonnaise.

#31 Marc Vetri, Vetri

As a boy, Marc Vetri cooked with his Sicilian grandmother in South Philly before going on to cook all over Italy, under the region's most famous chefs. He eventually returned to the U.S. to open Vetri, which Mario Batali called "possibly the best Italian restaurant on the East Coast." Vetri has received the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic.

#30 Wylie Dufresne, WD-50

Combining cooking and science, Wylie Dufresne offers a creative take on classic dishes. At his New York City restaurant WD-50, he employs unique cooking methods such as gluing meat together using enzymes and scrambling eggs in the shell. He's worked with Jean-Georges Vongerichten and has earned six James Beard Award nominations (and a win in 2013) for Best Chef in New York City.

#29 Michael White, Marea

Originally from Wisconsin, Michael White has mastered Italian cuisine, and his crostini with lardo and sea urchin, served at his Italian restaurant Marea, has become one of New York City's must-try dishes. White was named one of the 40 most influential New Yorkers under 40 by Crain's New York Business in 2010 and won the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant for Marea. Marea's chef de cuisine, Jared Gadbaw, has gained culinary experience and inspiration from traveling internationally with chef White.

#28 Nicolaus Balla, Bar Tartine

Known for slow, subtle, and labor-intensive cooking techniques and internationally inspired dishes, Nicolaus Balla has lived and cooked in Michigan, Brooklyn, Las Vegas, Budapest, Japan, and most recently San Francisco, where he's co-chef at Bar Tartine. The restaurant has a homey atmosphere, but the menu guarantees a fine dining experience. To create authentic homemade flavors, Balla employs artisan cooking techniques such as sausage preparation, cheesemaking, and pickling. Balla has previously worked under Paul Arenstam and Bar Tartine has earned a spot on the San Francisco Chronicle's Top 100 Restaurants list and Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants list.

#27 Masa Takayama, Masa

Born in Japan to parents who owned a fish shop and a catering business, Masa Takayama grew up cooking Japanese cuisine and went on to open his own Japanese restaurant, Masa, where he is inspired by the ideas of shibui — meaning "simplicity devoid of unnecessary elements, and the honest presentation of materials" — and umami — which he calls "the basic essence of flavor inherent in each ingredient." Among other accolades, Takayama was named Chef of the Year by Esquire magazine.

#26 John Besh, August

Born and raised in Louisiana, John Besh, along with executive chef Todd Pulsinelli, uses his culinary talents to deliver the freshest local ingredients as well as the heritage of the New Orleans region at his restaurant August. Pulsinelli was named Chef to Watch in 2010 by Louisiana Cookin' and chef Besh has called him "one of the finest artisans I have ever known." As a former U.S. Marine, Besh also dedicates himself to preparing high-quality, ready-to-eat meals for thousands of emergency response teams and sustained strategic operations not only in the U.S. but around the world. He's received countless awards, including a spot on Food & Wine magazine's list of the Top 10 Best New Chefs in America and the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast.

#25 Danny Bowien, Mission Chinese Food

Perhaps most well-known for his ma po tofu, a stir-fry of pork, tofu, and fermented bean paste, Korean-born but Oklahoma-raised Danny Bowien, of New York City and San Francisco's Mission Chinese Food, looks like a rocker and was actually in a band for a few years before realizing that his true calling was cooking. He went on to win the 2008 World Pesto Championship in Italy before opening his restaurants, serving what he calls "Americanized Oriental food."

#24 Aaron Franklin, Franklin BBQ

For Texas-native Aaron Franklin, who learned how to make brisket from his parent's barbecue stand, "making good brisket was in his blood." Today, his restaurant Franklin BBQ sells possibly the best barbecue around. Originally sold out of a trailer in a parking lot, Franklin's brisket, which has customers lined up around the block, is sold out every single day. Bon Appétit named Franklin BBQ the best in America.

#23 Joël Robuchon, Joël Robuchon

Owner and chef of the Best Restaurant in the World according to the International Herald Tribune ¾ Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas ¾ Robuchon has establishments all over the map: Las Vegas, New York, Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, and Singapore. His celebrated Las Vegas flagship offers a 16-course tasting menu. At this and each of his restaurants, he executes "the same touch, the same know-how, the same use of products, but a cooking adapted according to the country and its culinary traditions." Robuchon was named France's Chef of the Century by the esteemed Gault Millau restaurant guide. At Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas, Claude Le Tohic, who began waiting tables at 5 years old at his parents' crêperie, is in charge of the kitchen.

#22 Sean Brock, Husk

Growing up in a small Virginia town with no restaurants and plenty of farmland, Sean Brock learned to grow and cook his own food at a young age. Still today, at his Charleston, S.C., restaurant Husk, which focuses on regional Southern ingredients, most of the ingredients Brock cooks with are grown in a garden behind the restaurant. Showing appreciation for farm-grown produce, he sports a full-sleeve tattoo on his arm of his favorite vegetables, one being Jimmy Red Corn. On the other arm, he's planning a map of Southern food. You may have seen him appear on the "Next Great Chef" episode of the Food Network Challenge and on Iron Chef America, taking on Michael Symon in "Battle Pork Fat."

#21 Matt Molina, Osteria Mozza

Trained at the Los Angeles Culinary Institute, Matt Molina worked under Nancy Silverton for six years before teaming up with her at Los Angeles' Osteria Mozza, where the menu includes a range of Italian dishes, complete with a mozzarella bar. Molina is most famous for his fresh ricotta egg ravioli with brown butter and sage as well as his passion for sustainability, environmentalism, and organic food.

#20 Alfred Portale, Gotham Bar and Grill

Twenty-eight years later, Alfred Portale remains executive chef at New York City's Gotham Bar and Grill, which has been reviewed six times by the Gray Lady and received 15 stars since he took over in the kitchen, incorporating French culinary techniques and international influences to create modern dishes. Portale is one of the chefs commonly identified as a leader of the New American Cuisine movement, which involves the sourcing of fresh, quality ingredients from small farms and specialty purveyors. In 2006, Portale earned the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef.

#19 Jon Shook, Animal

"Don't overuse black pepper" is Jon Shook's culinary philosophy. Shook is the co-chef of Animal, the Los Angeles restaurant where he and his partner Vinny Dotolo, whom he met on the first day of culinary school, serve up hearty and innovative dishes. Along with his partner, he was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine.

#18 Vinny Dotolo, Animal

Born in Clearwater, Fla., Vinny Dotolo was always the guy manning the barbecue at high school parties. On his first day of culinary school he met his longtime cooking partner Jon Shook in class, and they've been cooking together ever since. The duo eventually opened their Los Angeles restaurant Animal, where they offer creative, meat-centric dishes. Along with Shook, Dotolo was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine.

#17 Judy Rodgers, Zuni Café

Judy Rodgers fell in love with cooking as an exchange student at Les Frères Troisgros in France. As the chef at the Mediterranean-style Zuni Café in San Francisco, Rodgers is famous for her roast chicken, which she roasts to order in a brick oven. One of her most influential mentors was Jean Troisgros, who taught her to taste and smell things when cooking, among many other valuable culinary lessons. When not cooking, Rodgers loves to hike and spend time in her garden. Among other honors, she has won a James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef.

#16 Tory McPhail, Commander’s Palace

After cooking in Seattle, Florida, London, and the Virgin Islands, Tory McPhail settled at New Orleans' Commander's Palace, known for its Southern charm and turtle soup. Raised on a farm, he appreciates everything that goes into growing and preparing a meal. His respect for product influences the menu at Commander's Palace, where 90 percent of the restaurant's ingredients are sourced from within 100 miles. His television show, Off the Menu, featured McPhail hunting, fishing, and preparing dinner with the day's catch.

#15 Mark Ladner, Del Posto

After years working with many esteemed chefs including Todd English, Scott Bryan, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Jason Denton, Mark Ladner is the executive chef under Mario Batali at New York City's Del Posto, the first Italian restaurant to earn a four-star rating by The New York Times since 1974. Ladner blends rustic Italian flavors with locally grown ingredients to create modern, regional, Italian-American cuisine. He spends his free time with his kids or studying Japanese eating and drinking culture.

#14 Jérôme Waag, Chez Panisse

Born in Paris, Jérôme Waag was raised on his mother's classic Provençal cooking. He applies the skills learned from her to his work in the kitchen of Berkeley, Calif.'s Chez Panisse, a restaurant that has been in business for more than 40 years and is credited as a major instrument in changing the American food scene. Waag counts former Chez Panisse chefs Paul Bertolli and Jean-Pierre Moullé as his mentors. He is not only a chef, but also an artist who explores the connection between art and everyday life, particularly as it relates to food and the community.

#13 Cal Peternell, Chez Panisse

Though he graduated from New York City's School of Visual Arts with a BFA in painting and lived in Italy for some time to pursue a career in art, Cal Peternell since has changed paths. After stints in kitchens in San Francisco and Boston, he is now chef at Berkley, Calif.'s Chez Panisse, a restaurant instrumental in changing the American food scene over the past 40 years.

#12 Grant Achatz, Alinea

Grant Achatz, The Daily Meal's 2011 American Chef of the Year, has been cooking in the kitchen since he was 14 years old. After years of perfecting his culinary skills and training with chefs Thomas Keller, Charlie Trotter, and Ferran Adrià, he is now the chef at Chicago's Alinea, one of the most highly esteemed restaurants in the world. Though Achatz' dishes may appear simple on the menu at times, what he delivers to the plate is always original.

#11 Daniel Boulud, Daniel

French native Daniel Boulud is not only one of the most respected French chefs in New York City, which he has called his home for 31 years, but he is considered one of America's leading culinary authorities. In his New York City restaurant Daniel, which counts President Obama as a patron and is one of only six Manhattan restaurants with four stars from The New York Times, Boulud delivers the finest dining hospitality mixed with the traditional French cooking that he grew up with. Having trained with Roger Vergé, Georges Blanc, Michel Guérard, and several other esteemed chefs, Boulud is the author of seven cookbooks, has won three James Beard Foundation Awards, including Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurateur, and was named 2011's Chef of the Year by The Culinary Institute of America.

#10 Donald Link, Cochon

Growing up with the Cajun and Southern cooking of his grandparents, Louisiana native Donald Link brings his culinary roots to his New Orleans restaurant Cochon — a tribute to Old World butcher and charcuterie shops — where he features the foods and cooking techniques he grew up with. Link has earned a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the South.

#9 Stephanie Izard, Girl & the Goat

While she's the first woman to win the title of Top Chef, Stephanie Izard's guilty pleasures are Taco Bell, Lean Cuisine, and Bon Jovi. At her Chicago restaurant Girl & the Goat, she offers not only locally sourced dishes, but a sense of community and comfort as well as pop and rock hits playing in the background.

#8 Mario Batali, Babbo

One of the world's most recognized and respected chefs, Mario Batali employs his cooking philosophy of "using the best local ingredients as simply as possible and serving them with flourish and joy" at his New York City Italian restaurant Babbo, the recipient of a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. Batali himself has won numerous awards, including Man of the Year from GQ Magazine and James Beard Awards for Best Chef in New York City and Outstanding Chef of the Year. He is also the founder of the Mario Batali Foundation, which aims to feed, protect, educate, and empower children. Frank Langello, who names Batali as his mentor, is Babbo's executive chef.

#7 Jean-Georges Vongerichten, ABC Kitchen

After traveling and working throughout Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Singapore, Jean-Georges Vongerichten introduced his "vibrant cuisine," — highlighting intense flavors by opting to use vegetable juices, fruit essences, light broths, and herbal vinaigrettes instead of meat stocks — to his New York City restaurant ABC Kitchen, named Best Restaurant of the Year by Esquire and Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. In France, Vongerichten began his culinary training under chef Paul Haeberlin and eventually Paul Bocuse and Louis Outhier. In control of the kitchen at ABC Kitchen is chef Dan Kluger, who has also worked under Floyd Cardoz and Tom Colicchio.

#6 Dan Barber, Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Blue Hill at Stone Barns' chef and co-owner Dan Barber describes his food as "cozy and approachable." At the restaurant, Barber focuses on improving the way ingredients are planted, grown, harvested, and cooked. Appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Barber aims to "blur the line between the dining experience and the educational, bringing the principles of good farming directly to the table." He's received James Beard Awards for Best Chef in New York City and Outstanding Chef and was named one of the world's most influential people by Time magazine.

#5 Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park

Switzerland native Daniel Humm began culinary training at 14 years old and earned his first Michelin star at age 24 as the executive chef of Gasthaus zum Gupf in the Swiss Alps. Since then, he's served as the chef at Campton Place in San Francisco and is currently the executive chef at Eleven Madison Park and NoMad, both in New York City. At Eleven Madison Park, Humm has received six James Beard Foundation Awards and three Michelin Stars, and a spot on the San Pellegrino list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants. Humm credits Gérard Rabaey at the Michelin three-star Le Pont de Brent as his mentor. On his days off, he likes to take trips to farmers' markets and butcher shops.

#4 David Chang, Momofuku Ssäm Bar

Though he grew up in Virginia and wasn't immediately drawn to a culinary career, David Chang is credited with increasing the popularity of modern Asian cuisine and has earned nearly every major culinary award, including James Beard Awards for Best Chef in New York City and Rising Star Chef of the Year. At his restaurant Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Chang delivers bold, Asian-inspired flavors and uses pork fat in just about every dish.

#3 Eric Ripert, Le Bernardin

Eric Ripert believes that "food nourishes not only our physical bodies but also our emotional and spiritual lives." After cooking under Jean Louis Palladin and briefly David Bouley, Ripert was hired by Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze to open Le Bernardin, which ranks 19 on the San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list and holds three Michelin stars as well as a four-star review from The New York Times. Ripert himself has been honored with James Beard Awards for Best Chef in New York City and Outstanding Chef.

#2 Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern

Michael Anthony's first real draw to cooking came when he was traveling in France and Japan, where different flavors and food cultures caught his attention. Known for his simple but elegant food, Anthony offers delicious dishes at his New York City restaurant Gramercy Tavern, which features contemporary American cuisine and warm hospitality in a historic landmark building. Anthony was awarded a James Beard Award for Best Chef in New York City.

#1 Thomas Keller, The French Laundry

In today's culinary world, Thomas Keller sets the standard for restaurant hospitality. He began his culinary career at a young age working at a restaurant managed by his mother and today he is the chef and owner of The French Laundry, which has been awarded four stars by Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle and five stars by Herb Caen, among countless other accolades. The French Laundry's chef de cuisine, David Breeden, is a Tennessee native who began his career working in the kitchens of Charleston, S.C.'s finest restaurants. Keller was named America's Best Chef by Time magazine and has received several James Beard Awards.