Location: Los Angeles
Why He's Amazing: He's helped transform gritty downtown L.A., turning a pop-up into the city's most sought-after dining experience. His cooking is brilliantly creative: A trip to the beach might inspire a dish of steamed crab with the lightest imaginable sturgeon mousse and coastal greens.
Quintessential Dish: Broken beets and apples, hazelnuts, malt and anise.
Culinary School: Self-taught.
Restaurant CV: Internship at La Chassagnette, Arles, France; Flour + Water, Bar Tartine, San Francisco; Plate Shop, Sausalito, CA.
All-Time Favorite Cookbook: The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock. "It's what cooking is all about: Stories about history and family, and how everyone fed each other. The stories Lewis and Peacock told one another—you get the sense of collective history, a passion for taking care of people. It's where I go when I feel jaded or burned out."
Heroes: Chef Jeremy Fox, formerly of Ubuntu restaurant in Napa.
Worthy Causes: Taymor and his business partner, Ashleigh Parsons, have launched an outreach program, building a garden in a nearby charter school and teaching the students there how to cook.
Famous Surname: His aunt is the theatrical visionary Julie Taymor.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.