Biscuits and gravy and Indian pudding. These are just two foods chef Sherry Pocknett whips up at Sly Fox Den Too restaurant in Rhode Island. The chef just made history. She became the first woman to win a James Beard Award!
The James Beard Awards are often called the “Oscars of the food world.” Each year, the event celebrates chefs from across the United States. Chefs gathered at the 2023 ceremony in Illinois on June 5.
Pocknett earned the honor for “Best Chef: Northeast category.” She wore traditional Native American clothing when accepting her award on stage. “This honor is just unbelievable,” she shared. “Something that I never even dreamed of. Thank you.”
Pocknett’s restaurant serves Native American . One menu item is fry bread. That is a fried flat bread. Pocknett serves sandwiches on the bread! Then there’s Indian pudding for dessert. That’s a baked pudding made with cornmeal and a thick, sweet syrup called molasses.
Another chef made history too. “Best Chef: South” went to Natalia Vallejo from Puerto Rico. This was the first win for Puerto Rico!
One of the top awards of the night was “Outstanding Chef.” That went to Rob Rubba of Oyster Oyster in Washington, D.C. Rubba serves up seasonal veggies. The restaurant’s name comes from oyster mushrooms and oysters the shellfish!
“Outstanding Restaurant” is the other top award. Friday Saturday Sunday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, earned that honor. The eatery offers an eight-course tasting menu!
Clare Reichenbach leads the James Beard Foundation. “Congratulations to the winners,” she shared. “It’s important to acknowledge the work that these restaurants and chefs have done to push American food culture forward,” Reichenbach added. She explained that the foodies use “their passion and talent to create experiences.”
“Thanks to them, our food future is bright.”
Updated June 6, 2023, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Alexa Tirapelli