Background Trained at the Culinary Institute of America. Worked at Fullers, Seattle; Lola, New York City.
How she got into cooking Started making dough in a New York City pizzeria when she was 13.
First sign she'd become a chef "When I stayed home sick from school, I'd cook all day; my parents would come back to entire meals."
First food memory "An ice cream sandwich, when I was one."
Favorite food city New York. "It's always good, from the diviest dive to the ritziest Ritz."
Ingredient picks Greens and cheese. "Monique Barbeau of Fullers said that when I die I'll be buried with a bunch of watercress and a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano."
Favorite equipment A hot water urn. "Hot water can fix anything, from a broken sauce to a too-thick soup."
Favorite cocktail Metaxa sidecar. "It's like a margarita made with Greek brandy."
Most tired trend Steak houses.
Weirdest food she's ever eaten Guinea pig.
Favorite 1 A.M. meal Quesadillas.
Food vice Brownies.
Recipe tip When grilling greens, make sure that the pan is very hot. Grill greens in a clump; if you spread them too thinly, they burn.
Won Best New Chef at: Laurels, Dallas (closed)
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.