Chefs are recalcitrant artists by nature, and some get into the business just to piss someone off. Black Bean Deli's Andres Corton knew he wanted to cook for a living, but he also wanted to rebel against his parents' expectations of him. When he and his folks left New Jersey and settled into a neighborhood in East Orlando, Corton's friend showed him how to fry an egg.
"Of course I'd seen it a million times, just never like this. My grandmother would fry an egg in olive oil, so it was rather bland, but Eric's fried egg was cooked in butter, and it was the best fried egg I've ever had." With that, Corton had found his new obsession. He set out to make the perfect buttery fried eggs, omelets, scrambled eggs, egg sandwiches and his mom's tortilla Española. The latter – a Spanish potato-and-onion omelet cooked on one side in a skillet, then flipped and slid back into the skillet – became his primary fixation. "This is still one of my favorite dishes to eat and cook," says Corton. "While I didn't know it at the time, Eric's fried egg was seriously life-changing."