BREAK THE RULES
Marjorie Meek-Bradley, Ripple and Roofers Union, Washington, D.C.
Meek-Bradley holds it down for the ladies. She was the only female finalist on this year's Top Chef, and at Ripple, her kitchen team is almost all female. Like so many powerful women, she's had to deal with people calling her bitchy, but being tough has paid off. Case in point: After showing up at Napa Valley's prestigious The French Laundry earlier in her career, asking to see the chef, and politely refusing to take no for an answer, she got a tryout and won a job on the spot. Her advice for aspiring chefs: "If you want something, go ask for it. Go to that kitchen door with résumé in hand."