Daniel O'Leary, Chef, Hotel Crescent Court, Dallas, TX

Maternal advice isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Daniel O'Leary's mother warned her son away from restaurants. A waitress, she knew hard work and lousy hours. But by age fourteen her boy was scrubbing pots anyway. A good thing, too. Had he minded his mom, he would have missed his calling and deprived diners in Dallas of some very good food.

Today O'Leary, who is 36, is making a name for himself with an unpretentious style of cooking that has earned his three-month-old restaura

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