Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Why He's Amazing: Because after working with his co-chef Kim Floresca in some of the world's most acclaimed kitchens, the duo is cooking up sublimely inventive food—like wild onion madeleines and savory pumpernickel macarons—at their very own spot.
Culinary School: Baltimore International College
Background: Internships at El Bulli (Roses, Spain) and Mugaritz (San Sebastián, Spain); The Restaurant at Meadowood (St. Helena, CA); Adour, Eleven Madison Park (New York City); Alinea (Chicago)
Quintessential Dish: Beef tartare with cured egg yolk, puffed tendon and capers
On Working Side by Side with Kim Floresca: "We've been together so long we kind of speak the same language."
Memorable Meal: About seven years ago, he and Floresca prepared a Christmas meal together for his Italian family. "The gathering is like 15 people and everyone's trying to yell over everyone else. We made a turkey, a ham, baked pasta, brussels sprouts, our own bread, banana pudding, sweet potato pie, apple crisp, all in this tiny home kitchen filled with loud, screaming Italians. Everyone was really happy."
On the North Carolina Food Scene: "This area of the country is almost untapped."
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.