Location: New Orleans
Why He's Amazing: Because his thoughtfully prepared gastropub menu has locals in the touristy French Quarter queuing up for a seat.
Culinary School: Self-taught
Background: Mustard Seed (Charleston, SC); Galatoire's, Gerard's Downtown, Martinique Bistro, Bayona (New Orleans)
Quintessential Dish: Shaved brussels sprouts with apples, Pecorino Romano and hazelnuts
College Major: Biology
Childhood Cooking Memory: Helping his cardiologist father make bread and pasta. "Cooking became his outlet during his time off, and when I spent time with him, we were often cooking together."
Out of the Frying Pan: "One summer after college, my mom was helping a friend out with a new beach restaurant they had opened [in Alabama]. I took a job frying fish, having no idea what extreme conditions I was walking into. We were frying fish in 100-degree heat in a small space, on our feet all day…In that kitchen, I found the belief that cooking could be an option for me."
His Kitchen Demeanor: "I don't fit the hot-headed chef role at all. I don't think that helps in an already pressurized situation."
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.