Watch Master Chef Nancy Silverton introduce her nominee, Justin Smillie of Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria in New York City, then scroll down for an inside look at the dish that made Smillie famous.

Nancy Silverton began her career in Sonoma, Calif., where she started working in a vegetarian kitchen in her college dormitory. After discovering that cooking was her passion, she decided to pursue a culinary education and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in London. After graduating with a solid foundation in culinary arts, Silverton returned to the states to begin working at Michael's restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif., under Jimmy Brinkley. It was there that Silverton discovered her passion for pastry, and so she returned to Europe to attend the Lenôtre culinary school in Plaisir, France to perfect her skills. Upon returning to the states, she was invited by Wolfgang Puck to be the head pastry chef at his world-renowned Southern California restaurant, Spago.

In June 1989, Silverton opened Campanile, with her partners Mark Peel and Manfred Krankl. It became one of Los Angeles's defining restaurants. When developing the restaurant menu and sourcing premium ingredients and vendors, Silverton soon realized that the bread she had tasted and studied in Europe was nowhere to be found in Los Angeles. In fact, there was no authentic artisanal bread in all of Southern California. Longing to serve a crisp crust and soft airy interior, with the tang of an all-natural sourdough starter, Silverton began teaching herself the ancient art of baking sourdough bread.

Little did Silverton know that her lesson in baking would become the nation's top artisanal bakery; on January 1, 1989, La Brea Bakery opened its doors in the 1,500-squarefoot storefront adjacent to Campanile. Silverton developed hundreds of recipes, and today La Brea's freshly baked breads are available in 17 countries, maintaining the signature taste, texture, and quality that was born on South La Brea Avenue so many years ago.

In 1990, Silverton was named Pastry Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation. These days, you can still find her busy creating and innovating in the kitchen. In 2011 she released her eighth cookbook, The Mozza Cookbook, and opened a branch of the restaurant in Singapore.

In November 2006, Silverton opened her first new restaurant since departing Campanile in 2004. Pizzeria Mozza, one half of a two-part restaurant with her partners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, opened to rave reviews. Osteria Mozza followed in July 2007 and was nominated as Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation.

Silverton is also heavily involved in the Garden School Foundation of Los Angeles and meals-on-wheels programs in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. By supporting the Garden School Foundation's commitment to nutritional education in public grade schools and raising funds and awareness for the older people who are fed each day by meals-on-wheels programs, Silverton is dedicated to sharing her love of food with two very different generations. She practices what she preaches: "Simple, all-natural ingredients lead to artful nutrition."

In 2003, Silverton was nominated as a member of the Marshall Field's (now Macy's) Culinary Council. Macy's has since opened six La Brea Bakery café kiosks: three in Chicago, one in Detroit, and two in Minneapolis, all inspired by the original bakery in Los Angeles.

Silverton has an amazing capacity for embracing the beauty of wonderful food and will undoubtedly continue to do so for the rest of her ingredient-inspired life. Each loaf, each leaf of lettuce, each lunch, is an entire world of its own waiting to be discovered, and she will never stop exploring.

Slow-Roasted Short Ribs
Serves 6

Short-Rib Brine
2 cups Kosher salt
½ cup honey
5 lemons, sliced
20 bay leaves
1 bunch parsley
1½ heads garlic, peeled and crushed
¼ cup black peppercorns

2 bone-in short rib plates (2 3-rib sections of short ribs), about 8 pounds total
1 recipe Short-Rib Brine (above)
1⅓ cups black peppercorns
⅔ cup pink peppercorns
½ cup green peppercorns
½ cup white peppercorns
⅔ cup coriander seeds
1 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
½ cup celery, sliced
½ cup toasted walnuts
½ cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted
2 ounces chopped parsley
1 lemon, juiced

2 cups sake
7 ounces konbu seaweed
1 package firm tofu
1½ ounces white miso
½ teaspoon salt

To Finish
6 teaspoons colatura
12 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish

Justin Smillie is the executive chef of Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, a restaurant-meets-market in NoHo, New York City. The menu at Il Buco features seasonal, rustic, and flavorful Italian food, the best ingredients simply prepared, and a focus on wood-fired cooking. Under Smillie's leadership, the restaurant has received rave reviews from critics and fans alike, including three stars from the New York Times and four stars from Time Out New York. In 2013, Smillie was named one of's Rising Stars.

Born in California and raised in New Jersey, Smillie developed a love for cooking inspired by the meals his mother prepared from the family's backyard garden. He began his career in the restaurant industry at age 17, and his first position was at the historic and critically acclaimed Bernards Inn in Bernardsville, N.J. In 2000, Smillie moved to New York City and worked in several top restaurants, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Mercer Kitchen and Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern. Four years later, he joined the famed chef Jonathan Waxman, who would become his mentor, at two Greenwich Village restaurants—first in the kitchen at Washington Park and later as the chef de cuisine at Barbuto. Smillie's six years under Waxman informed many of the techniques he still uses today, including open-fire and farm-to-table cooking.

In 2010, Smillie was given the opportunity to be part of the opening team at André Balazs's hotel the Standard, where he worked as a sous-chef under Daniel Silverman. For the next two years, Smillie spent winters at the Standard and summers as the executive chef of Balazs's Sunset Beach on Shelter Island, before joining the opening team at Il Buco.


For the Short-Rib Brine: In a large stockpot, bring 2 gallons of water to a simmer. Add salt and honey, and stir to dissolve. Turn off heat and add remaining ingredients. Transfer to a large container and refrigerate overnight, or until cold.

For the Ribs: Place short ribs in a large, heavy-bottom pot and cover with brine. Put the lid on the pot and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.

In a medium bowl, mix together all the peppercorns and the coriander seeds. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 cup olive oil. Pour enough of the olive oil over the peppercorn mixture to cover it. Let the peppercorns stand for 24 hours. Strain out the peppercorns (reserve the olive oil for another use), and using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the peppercorns until they are coarse.

Drain the brine from the short ribs. Pack the peppercorn mixture onto the flat, meaty surface of the short ribs. Place short ribs in a shallow dish, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Remove short ribs from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about 1 to 1½ hours. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the short ribs in a large, heavy pot with a rack on the bottom. Cover and roast for approximately 3 hours, or until they are tender all the way through when poked with a knife. The meat should be slightly springy. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the short ribs, one plate (3-rib section) at a time, peppercorn side down, until crisp. Place the celery, walnuts, olives, and parsley in a medium bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the juice of one lemon.

To Finish: Remove the bones from the short ribs. Divide the meat among six plates, and sprinkle the celery salad on top. Finish each plate with a drizzle of 1 teaspoon colatura and a sprinkling of 2 tablespoons grated horseradish.

Watch Justin Smillie prepare a dish from his Culinary Masters Competition menu: Slow-Roasted Short Ribs