Location: New Orleans
Why He's Amazing: Because he's redefining modern Southern cooking with audacious dishes such as butternut squash with snails, pickled peanuts and spiced whiskey butter.
Culinary School: Self-taught
Background: Dante's Kitchen (New Orleans)
Quintessential Dish: Pimentón sausage sandwich with squid, romesco sauce, mustard greens and aioli
Where He Discovered He Was Good at Cooking: Working in the dining halls at the University of Colorado, where he studied English.
Local Produce: Maurepas Foods has its own herb garden, and works with nearby farmers and suppliers.
What Distinguishes Him from Other Chefs: "If we're talking about making fish with butter sauce and crabmeat on top, there's 750 other guys in this town who can do that as well or better than I can. But if you're talking about putting a bunch of pickles all over the brussels sprouts, I'm pretty much your guy."
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.