Food & Wine: Ari Taymor
Photo © Brian McGinn

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.

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