On Monday (May 6), the James Beard Foundation announced its 2019 award recipients. Kwame Onwuachi, the 29-year-old creator and executive chef at Kith and Kin restaurant in Washington, D.C., won the Rising Star Prize. Onwauchi started his career as a caterer as a teenager, inspired by his Nigerian mother who ran her own catering company.
The foundation congratulatee Onwuachi in a Tweet below:
— James Beard Foundation (@beardfoundation) May 6, 2019
Onwauchi was the night’s first win. See below on Instagram:
A post shared by James Beard Foundation (@beardfoundation) on May 6, 2019 at 4:29pm PDT
Kith and Kin restaurant pays homage to his family’s Nigerian heritage. In 2017 Onwuachi landed on the Forbes “30 Under 30” list and last month (April 9) he published the his memoir, “Notes from a Young Black Chef,” which recounts his upbringing in the Bronx and Nigeria.
Onwauchi was one of several chefs of color who was nominated this year for outstanding restaurant, chef, food-centric journalism, book and broadcast media awards. Last year, the Foundation released a statement that it would work to make the organization more diverse for women and people of color, stating, “They are a first step intended to increase gender, race and ethnic representation in the governance and outcomes of the Awards, as well as to increase transparency of the judging process, and to make entry to the Awards more accessible than ever before.” According to Eater, the initiative has resulted in a seven percent increase of people of color.
Some other awardees from the list include Mashama Bailey (The Grey in Savannah, GA), Noel and Geeta Brown (Brooklyn’s A&A Bake & Double Roti Shop), Beverly Kim (Chicago’s Parachute) and Ann Kim (Minneapolis’ Young Joni).