Why He's Amazing: Because his European upbringing and hours logged at some of America's top restaurants are reflected in his rustic Mediterranean food—especially his terrific house-made pastas.
Culinary School: Self-taught
Background: Fish Out of Water (Santa Rosa Beach, FL), Joël (Atlanta)
Quintessential Dish: Garganelli verde with heritage pork ragout
Across the Pond: Krajeck grew up in Brussels. "My father worked overseas, for NATO. That's when my interest in food was first piqued. My mother would send me to buy croissants, to the boulangerie. There were charcuteries, with every pâté and terrine you could imagine, and farmers' markets every day. It made a strong impression on me."
On Working at Joël: "This was really where I learned how to cook, how to be an organized cook and focused."
His Middle Name: Rolf
Favorite Potato Variety: La Ratte. "They are the most potato-y tasting I've ever found."
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.