Philly’s Next Great Chefs

With the city’s most recent crop of celebrated chefs — Jose Garces, Daniel Stern — testing their luck as restaurateurs, a new generation of tastemakers is emerging in our restaurant kitchens. We surveyed area foodies — chefs, local

Executive chef, Lacroix at the Rittenhouse

Age: 34 His food: “A little bit of everything,” including global ingredients and science-project twists. How he’ll change Philadelphia: Levin is leading the city’s gastro-chemistry experimentation. Witness the tomato sponge. What we’re craving: Sodium algenite, calcium chloride and gellan — the secret ingredients in some of Levin’s wackier presentations, like liquid ravioli. Education: Culinary Institute of America. Experience: Stints at Le Bec-Fin, Brasserie Perrier and Striped Bass, as well as the Pluckemin Inn in northern New Jersey and Charlie Trotter’s and Aureole in New York. Ingredient of the moment: Broken Arrow Ranch’s lean, gamy axis deer saddle. Tip for the home chef: Buy really good knives. (Levin uses Nenox.) First food memory: Hanging out in the kitchens of Chinatown’s now-defunct Riverside while his parents ate in the dining room. What he cooks at home: Easy mac ’n’ cheese. Where he eats on his day off: Thai Lake, where he always orders the clams and pork with XO sauce. Details: Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, the Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 West Rittenhouse Square, 215-790-2533; lacroix-­