In 2003, 13 years after landing an after-school dishwashing job in Philadelphia, Carmen Cappello became executive chef for the first time in his kitchen career—at the Atlanta Grill in the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta.The son of an Army chef who had cooked for Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Cappello is also the only one of seven children not to earn a college degree. Though driven by pride and his father’s example, he says he was obliged to prove himself time and again by kitchen bosses who look for ...

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