Why We Picked Him: A necessary link between the mustachioed and the tatted generations, this graduate of SaMo High credits a dish of scallops with lime at City Café in the early ’80s as his teenage epiphany. Thirteen years after unveiling Mélisse, Citrin has grown into his roles of mentor, spokesman, and modest leader, all the while remaining a passionate, curious cook. He’s as likely to be found rallying foie gras fans or arranging a rice tasting with his friend Morihiro Onodera (Mor Sushi) as he is producing signature dishes like almond-crusted Dover sole with white corn. An upcoming grass-fed burger stand should round out his repertoire. White Tablecloth: “Fine dining is constantly morphing. You now have 40-seat places with counters that are doing really great stuff. I try to keep the food cutting-edge while respecting where we come from. That’s me.” » 1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.
Photograph courtesy laepicureanfestival.com