Justin Uchtman, sous chef at SPQR in San Francisco, moved to the city three years ago and plans to never leave. The Ohio transplant's reason: San Francisco's proximity to wine country and the access to great ingredients. "I think everything is better out here," says the young chef. "It would take a lot to make me leave."

Uchtman lives a few blocks from the restaurant, and whenever he has the night off, he cooks at home. Specialties include his grandmother's recipes for pound cake and meatloaf, as well as simply prepared meats, like these brined pork chops.