Let me get the disclaimers out of the way first.
These are "favorite" chefs, not "best" chefs. Favorite is 100% subjective; best somewhat less so. So the usual dissection, criticism, rebuttal, and surrebuttal that would ensue from a listing of "best" chefs...well, I'm hoping there'll be no compulsion for that here.
Just a fun list for those who may wish to participate. I look forward to seeing which names pop up most often.
If you're a sushi aficionado, a vegan, think Mexican cuisine is tops, or Italian, or Chinese, then your trio will no doubt include chefs from those areas.
I've thought a lot about this and with my three it's all about taste, creativity and consistency, in that order:
JEAN-MICHEL DIOT (Tapenade)
PAUL MC CABE (Kitchen 1540)
CARL SCHROEDER (Market)