Andrea Petrini: Paris's Culinary Starmaker

France's great cultivator of talent

In late June, Ben Shewry left his Melbourne restaurant Attica, flew 33 hours in coach to Belgium, cooked a dinner with 23 other acclaimed chefs and, the next day, flew 31 hours to be back in his kitchen on time. Why? "Because Andrea asked me to," he says.

That would be Andrea Petrini, an Italian-born writer, free-spirited bon vivant and culinary connector who just may be the most powerful man in fine dining. Petrini works largely by organizing attention-getting events, bringing together like-minded chefs and simply talking up restaurants that excite him. But because he is so knowledgeable, so plugged-in and...

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