Mentor native Rocco Whalen left Northeast Ohio to study at the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts, then pestered his way into prestigious gigs at ber-chef Wolfgang Puck's ObaChine in Phoenix, Granita in Malibu, and Spago in Las Vegas. He returned to launch one of our city's finest restaurants: Fahrenheit. It's no exaggeration to say that the entire country has since taken notice of 28-year-old Whalen's sassy, sexy, yet beautifully disciplined style. Both Gourmet
featured the chef and his restaurant in 2002; and in 2004, Whalen was picked as a "rising star" by national trade mag Restaurant Hospitality
. Today, he continues to turn up the heat at Fahrenheit, with seasonal menus filled with such dishes as rare beef "summer rolls," gourmet portobello pizza, and slow-braised Kobe beef short ribs. He also presides over some of the region's most elegant wine dinners and contributes his time and amazing talents to fund-raising for anti-hunger programs like Share Our Strength. A talented chef, a successful restaurateur, and a fine human being, Whalen has certainly earned his spot among the best this city has to offer.