After graduating from Johnson & Wales University in 1999, Alex Becker jetted off on a globetrotting adventure that would bring him from Michelin-starred Ristorante Gardenia in Turin, Italy, to Japan for a seven-year career at world-renowned Nobu, where he acted as executive chef for restaurants in New York, Hawaii, and Los Angeles. Later, he served as corporate executive chef for equally well-respected Katsuya in Los Angeles. Today, he's Kuro's executive chef as well as the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's creative culinary director. The chef sources exotic items for the restaurant's new-style Japanese creations—dishes grounded in tradition and executed via a unique kaiseki (carefully prepared multicourse experience). The idea: Offer a menu where no two dining experiences are alike, each tailored to a patron's specific preferences. Fish for sushi is delivered three times a week and stored in a subzero freezer. The bar is stocked with several Japanese whiskeys, shochu, and more than 20 different sakes. Dishes feature four varieties of miso, several types of wasabi, and several types of soy sauce, and exotic produce including yuzu, mushrooms, and lotus root comes from overseas. If it's a taste trip you're looking for, Becker is the man to give it to you.
Readers' choice: Angelo Elia of Casa D'Angelo