James Kenji López-Alt, known as J. Kenji López-Alt or Kenji, is an American chef and food writer.
He was born James Kenji Alt, the son of Harvard University geneticist and immunologist Frederick Alt, and on his mother's side, the grandson of chemist Koji Nakanishi. López-Alt graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2002, where he majored in Architecture. His 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.
Upon marriage, López-Alt combined his birth surname, Alt, with that of his wife Adriana López.
López-Alt 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.
He was the Managing Culinary Director and is the Chief Culinary Consultant of "Serious Eats", a food blog, where he authors the James Beard Award-nominated column "The Food Lab". He is also a columnist for Cooking Light.
His first book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, 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.
As of 2019, Kenji resides in San Mateo, California, after previously living in New York City and Boston. López-Alt opened the Wursthall Restaurant & Bierhaus in San Mateo, California, with partners Adam Simpson and Tyson Mao. A second location of Wursthall in Santana Row in San Jose, was announced in November 2018, however as of July 2020 it has yet to happen.
- López-Alt, J. Kenji (2015). The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science (1 ed.). W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0393081084.
- Parks, Stella (2017). BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts. J. Kenji López-Alt (Foreword). W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0393239867.
- López-Alt, J. Kenji (2020). Every Night Is Pizza Night. Gianna Ruggiero (Illustrator). Norton Young Readers. ISBN 978-1324005254.
- The Best American Food Writing 2020. J. Kenji López-Alt (Editor), Silvia Killingsworth (Editor). Mariner Books. 2020. ISBN 978-0358344582.