Why He's Amazing: Because the Top Chef winner combines global influences in unexpected ways with spectacular results, as in his Greek red wine–braised octopus with African piri piri pepper sauce.
Culinary School: Johnson & Wales University (North Miami)
Background: The Ritz-Carlton (Naples, FL); Pano's & Paul's (Atlanta); Washington Square, The Ritz-Carlton, Garces Group (Philadelphia); Rat's Restaurant (Hamilton, NJ)
Quintessential Dish: Roast pork with provolone pudding and long hots
Kitchen Inspiration: "My father was a baker and my mom was as well. At a young age I had a passion for food and loved it. I have always loved the creative process behind cooking."
On His Top Chef Win: "I wouldn't have a restaurant today with my name on it without the show. The reason I did the show was because I wanted my own place. [The show] made me look at food differently and pay more attention to what the guests like and dislike."
Best-Selling Item: Foie gras soup. "People kind of die over it."
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.