Matt Louis

Restaurant: Moxy (Read a review)

Location: Portsmouth, NH

Why He's Amazing: Because he makes incredible Spanish-style tapas using seasonal New England ingredients.

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

background: Bouchon, the French Laundry (/sites/default/files/ountville, CA); Per Se (New York City); Wentworth by the Sea (New Castle, NH)

Quintessential Dish: Johnny Cake Community: cornmeal pancakes, brown-sugared pork shoulder, crispy onion, pickled cucumbers

How He Got into Professional Cooking: "My father was a general manager at a hotel and I ended up there a lot as a child, spending a lot of time in the kitchen when I was very young. The chef there brought me to the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) when I was 15. When I saw it, it was pretty much the deciding factor."

What Drives the Food at Moxy: "One: the history and culture of our area; two: our own twists on iconic tapas dishes; three: what the local farmers are growing. Everything fits into at least one of these categories, if not more than one."

On Auditioning at the French Laundry: "It was extremely hard. It was on the flight home, when my head had cleared some, I immediately knew that I had to work there. All the reasons it was so hard were all the reasons I needed to be there."