An MIT grad and chef, Lopez-Alt, 31, has earned a fanatical following for his blog, the Food Lab, by demystifying cooking techniques like sous vide (his version involves a plastic cooler) and cheerfully creating a homemade In-N-Out burger. "Understanding what goes on behind a recipe is the best way to become a better cook," he says. "If you get why something works one time, you can do it again." His first book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, comes out next fall.
Photo courtesy of Kenji Alt.