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South Dakota chef named a finalist for James Beard award

A Sioux Falls chef is one step closer to earning one of the highest awards in the culinary world.

Sanaa Abourezk was named a finalist for the Best Chef: Midwest award from the James Beard Foundation.

Abourezk owns and operates Sanaa's Gourmet Mediterranean in downtown Sioux Falls. The restaurant specializes in vegetarian, vegan and Mediterranean cooking.

James Beard awards are recognized industrywide as one of the highest achievements in cooking.

“The James Beard Awards celebrate outstanding achievement and exceptional culinary talent, as well as all those doing incredible work on behalf of our communities and wider food system. This year’s nominees, winners, and honorees are inspiring exemplars of that,” said James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach in a press release.

The foundation gives out awards in several categories, as well as "Best Chef" awards in 12 different regions across the U.S. The finalists for the Midwest region include:

  • Sanaa Abourezk, Sanaa's Gourmet Mediterranean, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Gregory León, Amilinda, Milwaukee, WI
  • Francesco Mangano, Osteria Papavero, Madison, WI
  • Itaru Nagano and Andrew Kroeger, Fairchild, Madison, WI
  • David Utterback, Yoshitomo, Omaha, NE

A full list of finalists is available here. Winners in each category will be announced June 5.

Another South Dakota chef, Joseph Raney of Custer, was previously named as a semifinalist in the Midwest category alongside Abourezk.

Josh Chilson is the news director at South Dakota Public Broadcasting. A Florence, S.D. native, Josh graduated with a journalism degree from South Dakota State University. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and videographer, and most recently as managing editor for Dakota News Now. Josh is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls studio.