Fertile Grounds

The following influential restaurants are as legendary for the talent they've fostered as they are for the food they've served.

LA CÔTE BASQUE
(1958-2007) Chef Jean-Jacques Rachou helmed the New York City kitchen from 1979 to 2007 and mentored a cast of culinary stars, including Charlie Palmer (1979-1981) of Aureole in New York City, Charlie Palmer Steak in Las Vegas, and Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, California; Todd English (1984-1986) of Olives in Charlestown, Massachusetts, The Libertine in New York City, and Da Campo Osteria in Florida; and David Bouley (1981) of Bouley, Upstairs, and Secession, all in New York City.

THE QUILTED GIRAFFE
(1979-1992) This Manhattan institution was beloved for its four-star American and French-inspired cuisine. Alums (with their dates of tenure) include Peter Hoffman (1980) of the acclaimed New York restaurants Savoy and Back Forty; Tom Colicchio (1984) of the Manhattan landmarks Gramercy Tavern (1994-2006) and Craft; and Katherine Alford (1983-1989), the current test kitchen director at the Food Network.

STARS
(1984-1999) This San Francisco restaurant, founded by chef Jeremiah Tower, was one of the nation's first outposts of market-driven "California cuisine". Alums include Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier (1984-1986) of Arrows and MC Perkins Cove, both in Maine; Mario Batali (1987) of the New York Italian meccas Babbo, Lupa, Otto, and Del Posto; and Steve Ells (1989, 1990-1991), the founder of Chipotle Mexican Grill.