Young Joni chef Ann Kim wins James Beard Award

Ann Kim, owner and executive chef of three restaurants.
Young Joni chef Ann Kim won a prestigious James Beard Award Monday night.
Photo by Eliesa Johnson Photography

The chef of a northeast Minneapolis restaurant has won a prestigious James Beard Award, aka the "Oscars of the food world."

Ann Kim, the chef of Young Joni, was shocked and emotional as she talked about her path to the kitchen of the popular eatery featuring wood-fired pizzas and dishes inspired by a range of cuisines.

"My journey has not been easy. It has not been linear and it has not been traditional," Kim said during her acceptance speech. "I stand here because 10 years ago, I said f--- fear," as the crowd cheered.

Before Young Joni opened in 2016, Kim started Pizzeria Lola in south Minneapolis and Hello Pizza in Edina.

Kim was one of three Twin Cities women nominated in the best chef, Midwest category. The other two, Christina Nguyen of Hai Hai and Jamie Malone of Grand Cafe, also lead restaurants in Minneapolis.

At least two other Minnesotans have taken home Beard awards this year as well.

Sean Sherman was honored with a leadership award from the prestigious foundation in March. Sherman, founder and CEO of The Sioux Chef, is an educator, caterer and award-winning cookbook author. And last month, Steve Hoffman took home a writing award for his article "What is northern food?" in Artful Living.

What question would you ask Ann Kim?

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