Bio: 38; she's single, grew up in Media and now lives in Cochranville.

What's new? The menu at Meritage Restaurant & Wine Bar (20th and Locust, 215-985-1922), where she is executive chef.

Philly restaurant connections: Le Bec-Fin, Susanna Foo, Savona (her first chef gig).

Starting out: At 22, as a server at the Village Porch in Springfield.

Favorite ingredient: "Salt and pepper . . . I'm joking. I use a lot of citrus and a lot of zest."

On working with Georges Perrier: "A great experience. He expects a lot out of you, and some people find him difficult, but I found him to be hysterical. There are a lot of French people [at Le Bec-Fin] and it's more of a cultural thing. I think a lot of Americans don't know how to deal with that.

Essential chef skill: The ability to be organized and multitask.

Hero: Her grandmother.

In grandma's kitchen: "I learned to appreciate fresh produce. We also did a lot of baking together."

But she makes it better: "It's simple, but everyone's favorite dish is my roast chicken."

Dream meal: "Someplace in Vietnam or anywhere in Southeast Asia. That's my favorite cuisine."

Learn more about Philly-area restaurants and chefs at our interactive guide, The Restaurant Connection, philly.com/restaurantconnect.