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Myers + Chang’s Karen Akunowicz Finally Gets Her Beard Award

Other local honorees include Jody Adams and North End mainstay Galleria Umberto

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A silver James Beard medal is isolated on a black background
James Beard award
James Beard Foundation [Official Photo]

Tonight in Chicago, the James Beard Foundation revealed the 2018 winners of its restaurant and chef awards, aka “the Oscars of the food world” — the culmination of over 20,000 entries narrowed down by a committee and then narrowed down further and further still by an independent volunteer judging panel.

This year’s “long list” of semifinalists included a lot of local names, with a handful continuing onto the shorter nominee list. Tonight, one Boston chef came away with an award, not to mention two other honorees that had been announced earlier in the year: the North End’s classic pizzeria Galleria Umberto (one of five restaurants deemed “America’s Classics” by the foundation) and Jody Adams of Porto, Trade, and Saloniki, who was inducted into the foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.

Plus, the foundation announced its media award winners last month in New York, including an award in the “dining and travel” category for “In Pursuit of Perfect Hummus” in the Boston-based Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine by the magazine’s editorial director J.M. Hirsch.

Coming home from Chicago with a shiny new medal: Karen Akunowicz of Myers + Chang for Best Chef: Northeast, a category she’s been in every year since 2015. This year, she shared the category with Benjamin Sukle of Oberlin in Providence, Cassie Piuma of Sarma in Somerville, Tiffani Faison of Tiger Mama and Sweet Cheeks, both in Boston, and Tony Messina of Uni in Boston.

Unfortunately, Boston’s Maura Kilpatrick (Sofra) and Portland’s Alison Pray (Standard Baking Co.) were passed over in the Outstanding Baker category, with Belinda Leong and Michel Suas of B. Patisserie in San Francisco winning the award. And Ken Oringer (Uni, Little Donkey, Toro, Coppa) missed out in the Outstanding Restaurateur category; the winner was Caroline Styne of the Lucques Group in Los Angeles.

Find all of the winners here.

James Beard Foundation Coverage on Eater [EBOS]
James Beard Foundation [Official Site]

Saloniki (Central Square)

181 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139 Visit Website

Myers + Chang

1145 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118 617 542 5200 Visit Website

Galleria Umberto

289 Hanover Street, , MA 02113 (617) 227-5709 Visit Website


4 Kilmarnock St, Boston, MA 02215 (617) 266-0001 Visit Website


Ring Road, , MA 02199 (617) 536-1234 Visit Website


1410 14th Street Northwest, , DC 20005 (202) 986-1094 Visit Website