Why he killed it in 2015: McNaughton's been wowing diners with the pastas at flour + water since 2009, but he hit the SF dining world with a one-two this year. With the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, he opened Aatxe and Cafe du Nord, both in the historic Swedish American Hall. The former is a new Basque tapas spot, the latter a restoration of a century-plus-old local dining institution, and both are worthy of multiple trips.
What's the best and worst advice you've gotten from a mentor? "Best: You will never master cooking. Every day you work is an opportunity to learn, push and become better. Worst: Keep your head down and don't ask questions."
Who's your food god? "I'm an atheist, but if I were to be a believer, I'd say any hardworking cook who puts on whites."
Do you have a secret talent? "Carpentry. When I retire, I want to have a woodshop."Next Chef