Photo © Knack Factory/Zack Bowen

Mike Wiley

Restaurant: Eventide Oyster Co., Hugo's (Read a review)

Location: Portland, ME

Why He's Amazing: Because he and his co-chef Andrew Taylor's restaurants combine the best of old-school Maine oyster bars with updates like cleverly flavored sauces (kimchi ice) and fried oysters served in steamed buns, Korean style.

Culinary School: Self-taught

background: Elk Creek Lodge (/sites/default/files/eeker, CO), Le Bosquet (Crested Butte, CO), Black Cat (Boulder, CO)

Quintessential Dish: Eventide Oyster Co.: Eventide lobster roll with brown butter vinaigrette; Hugo's: Nori-wrapped hake with pickled rutabaga, salt roasted beet and smoked hake XO sauce

Higher Ed: Wiley got his MA in rhetoric at the University of Colorado Boulder and wrote his thesis on the aesthetic rhetoric of The French Laundry Cookbook.

Early Forays in Cooking: "My mom's Betty Crocker's International Cookbook wonton recipe was something of a religion for me. My mom paid me $3 an hour to make wontons. [By serving them] she would get to wow people at the holidays."

Treasure Hunting: In 2013, Wiley, his co-chef, Andrew Taylor, and their partner, Arlin Smith, bought a skiff so they could dive offshore for wild edibles like beach peas, beach mustard, sea beans and sea rocket.