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Palestinian Chef Michael Rafidi Wins James Beard Culinary Award in Chicago

Palestinian chef Michael Rafidi has been honored with the James Beard Awards in Chicago, winning the title of Outstanding Chef 2024.

palestinian chef michael rafidi

Photo: Getty

The culinary world is full of awards and accolades that honor talented chefs, and among them is the James Beard Awards. Often referred to as the “Oscars of the food world”, it is one of the highest honors in the industry. This year, Palestinian chef Michael Rafidi, the owner of Albi a Michelin-starred restaurant in the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. was titled winner under the category of Outstanding Chef.

Previously, Rafidi’s restaurant garnered a Michelin Star in 2022, an award that is only granted to restaurants that are able to present an exceptional dining experience using top-notch ingredients consistently. Rafidi’s food encapsulates the rich flavors of his Palestinian heritage, with each dish presenting remnants of his culture.

 

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Chef Micheal Rafidi’s caption on his Instagram post, or speech as he called it included a poignant homage to his grandfather who was a chef in Washington for decades, and a big source of inspiration to delve into his restaurateur journey. “I accepted this award on the shoulders of my Palestinian ancestors, my grandparents and my mother. Through it all, they held onto their love of food, a taste of our lineage that told stories of love, resilience and hope,” stated Rafidi. He added, “As I grew in my career, I realized my Palestinian identity would become my purpose for the restaurants we would build, the menus we would create, and the food we would serve. Ending the caption with, “In case I wasn’t clear on stage. This award is dedicated to the people of Palestine.”

Regarding the win, Ayman, the Palestinian-Egyptian news anchor at MSNBC posted, “Now after last night’s James Beard Awards, Palestinian cuisine is not only recognized as part of the tapestry of America, it is celebrated among the very best cuisines in the world thanks to generations of Palestinians who are constantly pushing their food to new heights.”

Read Next: Meet the Palestinian Baker Bringing Nablus to NYC, One Kanafa Cup at a Time

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