Blaine Wetzel, 25
Restaurant: Willows Inn Dining Room; Lummi Island, Washington
Pedigree: Spent two years at Copenhagen's Noma, twice voted the world's best restaurant.
Food: Wetzel sources from the inn's four farmers, the island's Native American tribe, and Puget Sound, home to the king salmon he serves with a beurre blanc of the fish's bones, capers, and beach plants. willows-inn.com
Perry Hoffman, 27
Restaurant: Étoile; Yountville, California
Pedigree: Part of the family that owned the French Laundry before selling it to Thomas Keller.
Food: The Michelin-starred phenom applies French methods to local ingredients—like rabbit tenderloin wrapped with rabbit mousse and bacon, seared, and topped with wild pea shoots and a pheasant egg. chandon.com
Casey Lane, 28
Restaurant: The Tasting Kitchen; Venice, California
Food: Italian with French touches, plus on-site curing and butchering, results in a frenetic menu of slow-food triumphs like beef tartare with cornichon gelée, and tagliarini with squid and peppers. thetastingkitchen.com
Bryce Gilmore, 28
Restaurant: Barley Swine; Austin, Texas
Food: Texas ingredients are elevated in his chicken-fried duck confit with foie gras waffles, and grilled pork cheeks with soft-boiled egg and potatoes. barleyswine.com
Jesse Schenker, 28
Restaurant: Recette; New York City
Pedigree: Worked alongside stars like Gray Kunz, Jonathan Benno, and Gordon Ramsay.
Food: French technique in the back, Pearl Jam-soundtracked party out front. Offerings include corn custard with Parmesan tuile, corn velouté, foie terrine, bacon drippings, and pickled shallots. recettenyc.com
— By Howie Kahn