The Ritz-Carlton held its breath this year when Ron Siegel toyed with the idea of departing to open his own restaurant. No harm, no foul, as Siegel decided against it. Under his direction, The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco retains its sophisticated reputation and Siegel adds a thoroughly elegant edge. Many recognize Siegel as the humble chef who became the first American to defeat an Iron Chef on the original Japanese TV show. On or off camera, Siegel's a culinary force to be reckoned with, as his Japanese-influenced dishes are sublime.