E. Michael Reidt

Why Because his interpretation of Brazilian cuisine is soulful and smart.

Born 1970, Lowell, MA.

Education The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.

Experience Olives and Alloro, Boston.

First thing cooked Barbecued chicken. "It was blood-raw. To this day my mother can't eat chicken legs."

How he got into brazilian cuisine "I'm fascinated by the culture. Brazilians are passionate about everything."

Favorite cookbook The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller.

Ingredient crush Bananas. "I was trying to get my two-year-old son to eat lentils, so I mixed them with bananas. Then I learned it's a dish from the Canary Islands. It's on my menu now."

Most exotic thing he's eaten Camel. "It didn't sit very well."

Best advice he ever got "Something Todd English screamed at me once: 'Focus!' It's in the back of my mind whether I'm surfing 30-foot waves in Hawaii or searing a potato cake."

About his recipe Coconut and lime give Reidt's Soft-Shell Crabs with Farro Salad a Latin flavor; the bacon and watermelon aren't Latin, but they're inspired additions.

Won Best New Chef at: Bomboa, Boston