Kenji López-Altauthor

J. Kenji López-Alt


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James Kenji López-Alt (born October 31, 1979) is an American chef and food writer. His first book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, became a critical and commercial success, charting on the New York Times Bestseller list and winning the 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for the best General Cooking cookbook. The cookbook expanded on López-Alt's "The Food Lab" column on the Serious Eats blog. López-Alt is known for using the scientific method in his cooking to improve popular American recipes and to explain the science of cooking.

López-Alt co-founded Wursthall in 2017, a beer hall-style restaurant in San Mateo, California. He now maintains a popular YouTube channel in which he demonstrates various recipes and cooking techniques with a POV filming style. He released a children's book titled Every Night is Pizza Night in 2020 and a cookbook titled The Wok: Recipes and Techniques in 2022, which focused on the eponymous cooking vessel, both of which became New York Times Bestsellers.

Born James Kenji Alt, López-Alt is the son of Harvard University geneticist and immunologist Frederick Alt, who is of German descent and the grandson of Japanese chemist Koji Nakanishi, his maternal grandfather. López-Alt attended the Dalton School and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2002, where he majored in architecture. 

López-Alt's first restaurant job was during his sophomore year of college. He attempted to take a job as a waiter at a local restaurant, but they needed a prep cook. He later worked with several Boston chefs including Barbara Lynch and Ken Oringer. He went on to work as a test cook and editor at Cook's Illustrated magazine and America's Test Kitchen.

López-Alt was the Managing Culinary Director and the Chief Culinary Consultant of Serious Eats, a food blog, where he authored the James Beard Award-nominated column "The Food Lab." He later adapted this column into his first book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, which was published in September 2015 by W. W. Norton & Company. 

It was a New York Times Bestseller and won the 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for General Cooking, as well as the International Association of Culinary Professionals awards for Best American Cookbook and Cookbook of the Year. Penny Pleasance of the New York Journal of Books called The Food Lab "a seminal work that is encyclopedic in scope and can be used as a reference by even the most experienced home cooks."

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