Matt Danzer

Matt Danzer
Photo © Jason Rothenberg

Restaurant: Uncle Boons (Read a review)

Location: New York City

Why He's Amazing: Because he and his co-chef, Ann Redding, are alumni of Per Se channeling their cooking chops into scrumptious Thai pub food.

Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)

background: Per Se, Country (/sites/default/files/ew York City); the French Laundry (Yountville, CA)

Quintessential Dish: Yum kai hua pli (spicy roasted chicken and banana blossom salad)

East Meets West: Danzer was born and raised on the North Fork of Long Island, New York. Redding was born in Udon, Thailand, and grew up there, in the Philippines and in the US.

What Led Them to Open Uncle Boons: For five years, the husband-and-wife team ran a seasonal store and café on Shelter Island (between the north and south forks of Long Island). They traveled to Thailand during the winters, staying with Redding's family, and Danzer fell in love with the food: "It was like, 'Why aren't we eating this food all the time?'"

The Name: Redding has an uncle named Boon who would take her and Danzer on day-long bar-food-and-beer excursions in Thailand. "My family just goes nuts there," she says. "We drive to lunch and leave lunch to go [for a] second lunch, and have a snack on the way to second lunch."

The Dining Room's Vibe: Bangkok flea market.

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