Anthony Lamas, chef-owner of Louisville, Kentucky, restaurant Seviche, is a longtime natural advocate of farm-to-table cuisine. A life member of the National Future Farmers of America Association, Lamas has been passionately involved in that organization, along with 4-H, since he was a kid in Central California.

Nominated in both 2010 and 2011 for the James Beard Award for Best Chef/Southeast, Lamas is also enthusiastic about a vast range of Latino food, from the cooking of his own Mexican and Puerto Rican roots to that of Argentina, Peru, Cuba, and beyond. At Seviche, where he’s been bringing Latin flavors to Louisville since 2005, he samples from a world of Latin cuisines and lets the South meet Latin America in dishes like a Kentucky bison empanada and a ceviche of good old southern crawfish with jícama, olives, cilantro pesto, and sweet peppers.

Lamas began his life in the kitchen through the San Diego Culinary Apprenticeship Program, under the tutelage of chef Jeff Tunks at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. And today, critics like Esquire’s John Mariani say things like “Seviche has emerged as one of America’s best and most innovative Nuevo Latino restaurants with plenty of the chef’s personality in every dish.” In 2014, it was named one of Southern Living magazine’s 100 Best Restaurants in the South.

A winner in 2011 of Food Network’s Extreme Chef, in which he cooked up a wedding menu from ingredients found in a 99-Cent Store, Lamas has also put his shrimp and grits to the test on Beat Bobby Flay, and served as culinary expert on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue. And he’s been featured returning to Mexico to dig into his culinary and cultural roots for producer Diego Luna’s Fusion Network series Back Home.

In between kitchen time and guest TV stints, Lamas is also writing his first cookbook, Southern Heat – My Life Through Food, with Gwen Pratesi (Fall 2015; The Taunton Press).