Top Pedigree: Ivy League chefs

Harvard: Jeremiah Tower of Chez Panisse and Stars empire

Princeton: Patricia Yeo of Sapa; Kate Zuckerman of Chanterelle

Yale: Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger; Dave Lieberman of Food Network

Top talkers: Most erudite and articulate men of letters

Mario Batali (Rutgers): First of all, the best food educator out there. Clarity, concision and lack of condescension larded with Waverly Root-like regional specificity. He also has Calderon, Lope and Tirso de Molina in his back pocket from his college days.

Anthony Bourdain (Vassar/CIA): Voracious culture vulture. Quick Dennis Miller-esque references and also throws in some French poets.

Jeffrey Steingarten (Harvard): The William F. Buckley of food media, but a hapless amateur chef.

Top Gastro-geeks: Most gloriously nerdy use of technology to enhance taste and texture of food.

Homaru Cantu; Grant Achatz; Graham Bowles (Willy Wonkas of the Windy City)

Wylie Dufresne (LES pioneer)


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