June 17, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Age 30

Mustworthiness After heating up Alias (we miss you, Will Tippin) and Jack & Bobby, Cooper is thrown into the fire — quite literally — as a cocky chef in Fox’s promising new fall comedy Kitchen Confidential, based on chef Anthony Bourdain’s memoir of the same name.

Missed Career Opportunity No. 1 Chef. ”I used to have buddies come over after kindergarten and I’d cook them food. I prided myself in taking whatever was in the fridge and turning it into lasagna.”

Missed Career Opportunity No. 2 Basketball player. ”I had size 12 feet when I was 10, so I thought I was going to be 6’8”. My goal was to be able to dunk a basket. I wound up being 6’1” with size 14 feet. I got the raw end of the deal.”

Missed Career Opportunity No. 3 Conductor. ”I’d love to be able to conduct an orchestra — anything powerful, like Mozart’s Requiem. That would be killer.”

On His Must List ”Daniel Day-Lewis. He is the seminal actor to me.”

He Knew He’d Made It When. . . ”I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Next Wedding Crashers with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn (July 15), season 1 of Kitchen on Fox, and Failure to Launch (2006) opposite Matthew McConaughey.

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