Chef, Fresco, New York City
Age: 28. Why he's rising: Manhattan has arguably the greatest concentration of Italian restaurants of any American city, and many are flashy, big money operations designed to capture media attention. Yet, Vincent Scotto's Tuscan cuisine has gotten more than a little notice in a restaurant that is not much more than a mom-and-pop restaurant with white tablecloths. What the critics say: " . . . when I think of a place I'd really like to eat, it is Fresco that pops into my mind," says New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl. Background: A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Scotto worked as sous chef at Al Forno in Providence, R.I., then at Ristorante Vini di Al Covo in Venice, Italy. Back in the states, he toiled in the Brennan family's Ristorante Bacco in New Orleans. Mentors: George Germon and Johanne Killeen. Cooking philosophy: "Because I use the best ingredients possible, I prepare the food simply so those flavors shine." First job in foodservice: Dishwasher in a Brooklyn restaurant, age 14. Signature dish : Grilled tuna fillet mignon with warm white bean, asparagus, roasted peppers, and onion salad atop a bed of frisee with vinaigrette.