Alex Guarnaschelli

If you watch the Food Network, you know Alex Guarnaschelli. As the winner of last season's 'The Next Iron Chef: Redemption,' Guarnaschelli defeated friend/rival chef, Amanda Freitag, thanks to an apparently divine Pasilla Chile Cherry Tart. What's her secret ingredient? She's worked at some of the top restaurants in the U.S. including Daniel, Patina and most recently The Darby, a restaurant she helped open in New York City.

Or maybe it's because she grew up as the daughter of an esteemed cookbook editor. Either way, here are Alex's five favorite restaurants:
Hearth Restaurant - New York, NY - "I love this homey mom 'n' pop. It's Italian with great American ingredients. I am obsessed with the veal meatballs, the snapper crudo and all the seasonal dishes Marco Canora cooks up. One of my all-time and (longtime) favorites."
Hinoki & the Bird - Los Angeles, CA - "From chefs Kuniko Yagi and David Myers. Love this place. Love the kale and the lobster roll. The desserts are refreshing. The cocktails ... addictive (and strong!). It feels like a blend of Cali and Japan, in the best way."
Hominy Grill - Charleston, SC - "This little joint serves up amazing shrimp and grits and biscuits. I love the way the food is a menu of classic "give the people what they want" dishes made so carefully and lovingly. I love the homey feeling too."
La Belle Vie - Minneapolis, MN - "This place has old-school elegance and a sterling staff that makes me want to go back time and time again. The setting is stunning. Something as simple as a mixed green salad becomes something else in a restaurant like this. The food simply has so much flavor. Desserts are irresistible too."
Al Forno - Providence, RI - "This is a classic pick for a reason. This pizza, the pasta, the salads. Dynamite. The desserts are so good -- especially the fruit crostadas. This restaurant also rides the line between elegant and fancy perfectly."

You can follow Alex Guarnaschelli on Twitter @guarnaschelli.