James Beard Award nominee
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Why he's a big deal: He has been nominated five times for the James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast . He began his culinary career as a cook aboard the Anastasis with Mercy Ships, a non-profit group that performs free surgeries in Third World countries. He later worked at Gramercy Tavern for Tom Colichiccio before settling into Chattanooga and opening his own restaurant Alleia.