Why Because she creates flavors that are impressively bold and nicely balanced at the same time.
Born Vero Beach, FL, 1970.
Education Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.
Experience Tribeca Grill in New York City and The Heights in Coral Gables, FL.
Culinary hero Her grandmother. "She was the epitome of what Italian grandmothers should be: heavyset, sweet as could be, smelled a little like garlic and an awesome cook."
First thing cooked Chili. "I think I put in everything in the spice cabinet."
Favorite tool A Japanese mandoline.
How she relaxes Fishing trips with her boyfriend on his 22-foot boat. "That boat is my biggest competition."
Favorite local restaurant Joe Allen. "I get the same thing every time: meatloaf with mashed potatoes. I always think I'm going to try something new, and then I'm like, Why bother?"
Foods she hates Eggplant and peas.
Ingredient she loves Caviar. "If I could, I'd put caviar on everything."
Favorite cocktail Bourbon and ginger ale. "I'm a sucker for a good margarita, too."
Won Best New Chef at: Wish, Miami
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.