Location: Kansas City, MO
Why He's Amazing: His food truck was such a sensation, he had to open a restaurant to meet the demand for his deftly spiced regional Mexican cooking.
Culinary School: The Western Culinary Institute (Portland, OR)
Background: Frontera Grill, Topolobampo (Chicago); Room 39, The River Club (Kansas City, MO)
Quintessential Dish: Tacos de lengua (braised beef tongue)
On the Port Fonda Trailer: In addition to serving Mexican street food to sidewalk customers, "We would do four-, five- or six-course dinners inside the trailer. Just one table could fit inside. It was the hardest table to get in the city for sure, probably the hardest in the Midwest."
Most Underappreciated Ingredient: The tomatillo
What's Banned in His Kitchen: Black chef coats, combat boots, Zubaz pants (garishly patterned baggy pants from the '90s) and floppy chef hats.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.