Location: Portland, OR
Why She's Amazing: Because she's shaking up Portland's food scene with her fiery, Asian-accented small plates.
Culinary School: Self-taught
Background: Public, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar (New York City); Nostrana (Portland, OR)
Quintessential Dish: Scallop sashimi with ají amarillo, lychee and pink peppercorns
On Skipping Culinary School: "I'd signed up to get into the French Culinary Institute [in New York City], but there was a waiting list. While I waited, I got a job at Public." When the opportunity to go to school finally arrived, the people at Public "told me, 'Don't go... we'll teach you.'"
What She'd Be if She Wasn't a Chef: A poet. "I'm probably a better cook, but I would love to do food writing later on in my career."
How She Describes Her Cooking: "Inauthentic Asian."
Why She Opened Her Own Restaurant: "I just wanted to work for myself. It was time to do my own food. I'm a bit of a natural leader."
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.