Location: Kansas City, MO
Why He's Amazing: Because he's brought a refined sensibility to seasonal Midwestern ingredients in dishes like chilled corn soup with seaweed, fermented crab paste, marinated clams and jalapeño.
Culinary School: Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, KS)
Background: Má Pêche, Allen & Delancey, Country, Nobu 57 (New York City)
Quintessential Dish: Crispy egg with tripe, chipotle and bacon hush puppies
Precision Cooking: Brazeal's cornmeal-crusted eggs, inspired by those that Tom Valenti made at Ouest in New York City, require two water baths—a 45-minute one at 61.4 degrees to ensure the yolks' ultra-creamy consistency, and a shorter one to set the whites—before they're breaded and flash fried.
On Foodies Photographing Their Meals: While he allows diners to snap shots of his food, Brazeal would rather they enjoy it in person. "It's not some ethereal, otherworldly experience. It's a restaurant."
Seasonality: "That's the joy of this type of cooking—you have to get it while it lasts. It's so fleeting; you never know when it's going away."
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.