Karen Akunowicz Biography
Karen Akunowicz is a famous chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and TV personality from Kearny, New Jersey. She is best known for winning the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northeast in 2018 and for competing on the 13th season of “Top Chef.” Akunowicz is also the owner and chef of Fox & the Knife, an Italian restaurant in Boston and Bar Volpe, in South Boston, which focuses on Southern Italian Cuisine. Additionally, she appears on “Guy’s Grocery Games: All-Star Invitational.”
Karen Akunowicz Age | Birthday
Akunowicz was born on September 17, 1978, in Boston, Massachusetts. She is 44 years old as of August 2023. Chef Akunowicz celebrates her birthday on the 17th of September every year.
Karen Akunowicz Parents
Akunowicz was born and raised in Kearny, New Jersey to her parents; Lily (mother) and her father. She has siblings. One of Karen’s siblings is a sister named Jennifer Matos. Akunowicz developed a passion for cooking at a young age, inspired by her grandmother’s homemade pasta and sauce.
Karen Akunowicz Nationality and Ethnicity
Chef Akunowicz holds American nationality and she is of Polish and Italian descent. She grew up in a large family with four siblings.
Karen Akunowicz Partner, Wife
Akunowicz is a queer femme and she is married to LJ Johnson, her business partner. They tied the knot in 2014 after dating for six years. Karen’s wife, LJ Johnson is 42 years old as of August 2023 and she celebrates her birthday in February every year. Akunowicz came out as queer when she was 19 years old and has been vocal about her struggles with depression and anxiety. She is an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and mental health awareness. Akunowicz supports various charities and organizations that promote diversity and inclusion in the culinary industry.
Karen Akunowicz Baby/Daughter, Baby Father
In October 2022, Akunowicz welcomed her first child, a daughter named Rogue Marie Akunowicz Johnson. She share her daughter with her partner LJ Johnson. Akunowicz has not publicly revealed who the father of her daughter is.
Karen Akunowicz Education
Akunowicz attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she majored in psychology. After graduating, she decided to pursue her culinary dream and enrolled in the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. She graduated with honors in 2002.
Karen Akunowicz Career
Akunowicz started her career as a line cook at Ten Tables, a small restaurant in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. She then moved to Modena, Italy, where she worked as a chef at L’Avian Blu for a year. There, she learned the secrets of Italian cuisine and culture.
Akunowicz returned to the US in 2005 and joined Oleana, a Mediterranean restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She worked as a sous chef under the guidance of Ana Sortun, another James Beard Award winner. She also helped open Sofra Bakery and Cafe, a sister restaurant of Oleana.
In 2011, she moved to San Francisco and became the executive chef of Via Matta, an upscale Italian restaurant. She also wrote her first cookbook, “Via Matta: Recipes from an Italian Kitchen”, which was published in 2013.
In 2014, she joined Myers + Chang, an Asian fusion restaurant in Boston. She became the executive chef and partner of the restaurant, working alongside Joanne Chang, a famous pastry chef and cookbook author. She also co-wrote the cookbook “Myers + Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery”, which was published in 2017.
In 2015, Akunowicz competed on the 13th season of Top Chef, a popular reality cooking show. She made it to the final four but was eliminated in the penultimate episode. She received positive feedback from the judges and viewers for her creativity and skills.
In 2018, Chef Akunowicz won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northeast, becoming one of the few women to receive this prestigious honor. She also left Myers + Chang to pursue her own venture.
Karen Akunowicz Restaurants
In 2019, Akunowicz opened Fox & the Knife, an Italian restaurant in South Boston. The restaurant quickly became a hit and was named one of the best new restaurants in America by Food & Wine magazine.
In November 2021, Akunowicz opened her second restaurant, Bar Volpe, in South Boston. The Restaurant focuses on Southern Italian cuisine.
Karen Akunowicz Top Chef
Akunowicz competed on the 13th season of “Top Chef” in 2015. In 2020, she competed on “Top Chef: All-Stars L.A.” Besides, Akunowicz was a guest judge on Season 6 of “Top Chef Canada” in 2019.
Additionally, Chef Akunowicz has appeared in other TV shows including “Beat Bobby Flay” in season1, episode 2 and Guy Fieri’s “Tournament of Champions” Season 3 in 2022.
Karen Akunowicz Guy’s Grocery Games
Chef Akunowicz appears on Guy’s Grocery Games: All-Star Invitational, a cooking competition show hosted by Guy Fieri on Food Network. She will compete against seven other chefs in a series of challenges that involves shopping for ingredients and cooking dishes in a supermarket setting.
“Guy’s Grocery Games: All-Star Invitational” premieres on Wednesday, August 16, 2023, at 9 pm on Food Network. Eight chefs will be vying for a chance to win up to $75,000 in prizes and the coveted trophy.”
Guy’s Grocery Games: All-Star Invitational Cast
The other contestants of “Guy’s Grocery Games: All-Star Invitational” on Food Network are:
- Nate Appleman
- Jose Garces
- Ilan Hall
- Stephanie Izard
- Mei Lin
- Shota Nakajima
- Jonathon Sawyer
Karen Akunowicz Net Worth
Akunowicz has an estimated net worth of $2 million-$5 million as of 2023. She earns her income from her restaurant, cookbook sales, TV appearances, and endorsements. Moreover, Akunowicz is a remarkable chef and the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northeast in 2018 winner.
Chef Akunowicz’s Instagram handle is @chefkarenakunowicz, with over 79.2K followers as of August 2023.