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Chef Power

Who dazzles, who counts, who makes us tremble, and who was who in our town's best kitchens.



The very top of the food chain.

David Bouley
Bouley, Danube
Stalked by demons and setbacks after early meteoric fame at the original Bouley, he is back at the new Bouley, and as obsessed as ever.

Daniel Boulud
Daniel, Café Boulud, DB Bistro Moderne
Born into the French discipline, schooled by Michelin masters, toasted in the hot seat of ambition, he could, until recently, navigate his fiefdom by taxi. But now he's taking his Midas touch to pan for gold in Palm Beach.

Alfred Portale
Gotham Bar and Grill
A perfectionist who actually cooks, he bonded French technique to skyscraper design and changed America's way of plating dinner.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten
Jean Georges, JoJo, Vong, Mercer Kitchen
Unarguably the most creative chef in America, he tries to be everywhere at once in his global empire.

Eric Ripert
Le Bernardin
The French pedigree tells: Dropped into deep water at 29 after the sudden death of legend Gilbert Le Coze, Ripert had the passion, talent, and charisma to emerge his own man.

Nobu Matsuhisa
Nobu, Next Door Nobu
The shimmer and shock of Japanese purity embracing Peruvian and Italian flavors didn't exist until Nobu dared. Now he rides the jet stream to riches, and stand-ins sliver the kompachi.


The best of the rest.

Terrance Brennan
Picholine, Artisanal
He put family life before klieg lights, but when he's good, he's nearly great. His passion for cheese revived our own.

Scott Bryan
He's not a player in the star-chef follies, so it's easy to overlook his impeccable work at stern Veritas, where he plays second fiddle to the stellar wine list.

Andrew Carmellini
Café Boulud
He has the skills, the résumé, and the artistry, but Daniel keeps him on a short leash. Could he go off on his own?

Tom Colicchio
Gramercy Tavern, Craft
He's won raves since he was a boy wonder at Mondrian. Now he thinks he can keep Gramercy Park purring and run Craft, too -- here, in Vegas, and who-knows-where.

Christian Delouvrier
This seasoned pro, tortured by insecurity, was good enough at Les Célébrités. He's surprised everyone (even himself) by leaping up a notch in Gray Kunz's abandoned St. Regis kitchen.

Rocco Dispirito
Union Pacific
On the cusp of superstardom, this precocious food-press darling seems discombobulated emotionally. But it doesn't show at his tables, yet.

Wayne Nish
Nish high-steps to his own celestial music, but you must be in the mood for the daunting dance of his tasting menu.

Geoffrey Zakarian
Voted the chef most likely to be spotted out on the town at dinnertime, but his complex, intricately layered food can thrill.


The founding fathers and mothers of inventions.

Lidia Bastianich
An unquenchable force in the campaign to promote regional Italy.

Antoine Bouterin
This unassuming son of St. Remy still celebrates his heritage in a Provençal cottage on East 59th.

Sandro Fioriti
Serafino Sandro
This Roman conqueror has reprised his winners here and there over the years, often exiting with a tantrum.

Claudia Fleming
Her smart flavors and simplicity made her a pastry legend at Gramercy Tavern. Now she's an executive at Pret a Manger.

Larry Forgione
The godfather of American cookery may move An American Place yet again.

Charlie Palmer
Created Aureole, Alva, the Lenox Room, Metrazur, and more. Now he's commuting to Napa where his family has taken root.

Jean-Jacques Rachou
He nurtured dozens of our town's chefs in embryo at the Academy of La Côte Basque.

Anne Rosenzweig
She set a mark for women with Arcadia's three stars; now opts for a simpler life with a partner at Inside.

André Soltner
Still lives above his old stove at Lutèce and shares his wisdom at the French Culinary Institute.

Jacques Torres
Jacques Torres Chocolate
He could do anything Rodin did in sugar. Now he has the chocolate factory of his dreams.

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