The most interesting people we met this year

From a camel cowboy to a woman living in a laundromat, 2016 was full of surprises.

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Chef Alon Shaya Chef Alon Shaya (Photo: The Besh Restaurant Group)

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Alon Shaya

In May, the prestigious James Beard Foundation crowned Shaya – helmed by Israeli-born chef Alon Shaya – the Best New Restaurant in America of 2016 at a star-studded awards ceremony in Chicago. "Who woulda thought hummus in New Orleans?" the affable Shaya said when he accepted his medal. "What was everyone thinking?" Esquire writer Tom Junod said Shaya's success is something of a mystery. "It’s one thing to have pita; it’s another to have the best pita you’ve ever had in your life," Junod told From The Grapevine. "How does a restaurant even do that?"

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