Brad Kilgore

Restaurant: Alter

Location: Miami

In an unassuming concrete building in Miami's groovy Wynwood neighborhood, Brad Kilgore serves some of the most playfully brilliant dishes in 
the country. He makes grits with malted yogurt, then tops them with red onion caramel, wild garlic oil and smoked peanuts. 
The 30-year-old chef got an early 
start: Hired as a kid to wash dishes in a Kansas diner, he learned the ropes so fast he was cooking breakfasts at the age of 11. Today, he mentors at-risk teenagers in a food-truck venture. "I taught them to make dishes that are a little different, like bacon-wrapped hot dogs with kimchi guacamole."