Why she killed it in 2015: Swedish-born Bengtsson, leading lady at esteemed Midtown restaurant Aquavit, took over the kitchen in late 2014. She showed her strength by seamlessly transitioning from her previous role as pastry chef to executive chef, as she led her team to maintain two Michelin stars this year. And rightfully so: She has a knack for ingredients, which she seamlessly weaves into a tempting tasting menu, and the reviews have been outstanding as ever. Her ambition and talent are surely more than a little inspiring to the newest generation of young female chefs, as she's now one of only three United States women chefs to hold two Michelin stars.
How would you describe your food? "My cooking style is to reinterpret traditional Swedish cuisine in a modern way using the best ingredients possible."
What's your signature dish? "Calf's liver pâté or the arctic bird's nest."
Who's your food god? "Dominique Crenn. She is a leader and an inspiring role model for female cooks and chefs, including myself. She is paving the way for us at the highest level of the profession."
Do you have a secret talent? "Salsa dancing. I practice every Sunday with my group, LFX Dancers; we have even participated in competitions."
What's your favorite kitchen scar? "I was working with a baker who removed a sheet tray out of the oven and right into my cheek. The scar was there for almost a year."Next Chef