Katie Button

Restaurant: Cúrate (Read a review)

Location: Asheville, NC

Why She's Amazing: Because she's channeling the skills she gained through her envy-inducing background to make authentic Spanish tapas.

background: Internship at El Bulli (/sites/default/files/oses, Spain); Jean-Georges (New York City), The Bazaar by José Andrés (Los Angeles)

Quintessential Dish: Fried eggplant with honey and rosemary

How She Got into the Food Business: Her mother was the chef-owner of a catering business in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey.

Alternative Career: Button was about to start a PhD program with the National Institutes of Health before dropping out to pursue a culinary career.

On El Bulli: After a stint as a server, Button later returned to do a seven-month internship in the pastry kitchen. "We made something like 50,000 chocolates that season," she says.