Ari Taymor

Restaurant: Alma

Location: Los Angeles

Why He's Amazing: He's helped transform gritty downtown L.A., turning a pop-up into the city's most sought-after dining experience. His cooking is brilliantly creative: A trip to the beach might inspire a dish of steamed crab with the lightest imaginable sturgeon mousse and coastal greens.

Quintessential Dish: Broken beets and apples, hazelnuts, malt and anise.

Culinary School: Self-taught.

Restaurant CV: Internship at La Chassagnette, Arles, France; Flour + Water, Bar Tartine, San Francisco; Plate Shop, Sausalito, CA.

All-Time Favorite Cookbook: The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock. "It's what cooking is all about: Stories about history and family, and how everyone fed each other. The stories Lewis and Peacock told one another—you get the sense of collective history, a passion for taking care of people. It's where I go when I feel jaded or burned out."

Heroes: Chef Jeremy Fox, formerly of Ubuntu restaurant in Napa.

Worthy Causes: Taymor and his business partner, Ashleigh Parsons, have launched an outreach program, building a garden in a nearby charter school and teaching the students there how to cook.

Famous Surname: His aunt is the theatrical visionary Julie Taymor.

Restaurant: Alma (Read a review)

Location: Los Angeles

Why He's Amazing: Because less than six months after launching Alma as a pop-up restaurant, he attracted a die-hard following and landed a permanent space for his fresh, farm-driven cooking.

Culinary School: Self-taught

background: Internship at La Chassagnette (/sites/default/files/rles, France); Flour + Water, Bar Tartine (San Francisco); Plate Shop (Sausalito, CA)

Quintessential Dish: Broken beets and apples with hazelnuts, malt and anise

Heroes: Chef Jeremy Fox, formerly of Ubuntu restaurant in Napa: "He's a mentor of mine. I spent some time staging with him, just admiring his approach to vegetable cooking." Paris-based chef Iñaki Aizpitarte of Le Chateaubriand: "What he's able to do... It's avant-garde food without pretension."

On Sourcing Ingredients: "A lot of Asian farmers in L.A. are growing unique varieties of herbs and vegetables—kaffir lime, bay laurel, wild watercress, chickweed, oxalis..."

Worthy Causes: Taymor is interested in food deserts (urban areas with limited access to stores offering fresh food). "I'd like to model something on Alice Waters's [the] Edible Schoolyard Project."

Famous Surname: His aunt is the theatrical genius Julie Taymor.