Q&A: Karen Akunowicz of Myers + Chang


Karen Akunowicz grew up in New Jersey, but moved to the Bay State to attend UMass Amherst and started her career as a chef at Jamaica Plain’s Ten Tables. She went on to Via Matta, stoking a passion for Italian cuisine that would later take her to Modena, Italy, for a year. Upon her return she took a sous chef position at Oleana, working alongside Ana Sortun. Today Akunowicz is the executive chef at Myers + Chang, where she is also a partner. She received James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef Northeast in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and was a cast member on season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef.

Boston’s best dish:

Crab & Red Lentil Kibbeh at Sarma.

Desert island spice:

Chili! Whether it’s crushed red pepper flakes, Aleppo, or gochugaru. I can’t live without a little warmth in a dish.

Kitchen playlist:

Usually Pandora, Beyoncé, Robyn, or Nicki Minaj.

Favorite food destination:

Modena, Italy. I lived and cooked there for a year and can’t wait to go back.

Cooking inspiration:

Bringing people together over food is one of my greatest joys. Eating a meal together is universal. It is how we celebrate, grieve, or recharge.

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