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Dhaka Tribune

Bangladeshi-born chef earns James Beard Awards semifinalist spot

  • Her Korai Kitchen is the first Bangladeshi eatery in New Jersey
  • Restaurant run by mother-daughter duo
  • James Beard Awards are sometimes referred to as Oscars of food
Update : 25 Jan 2024, 02:47 PM

Bangladeshi-born chef Nur-E Gulshan Rahman of Korai Kitchen, the first Bangladeshi eatery in New Jersey, US, has been named a semifinalist among the best chefs in the Mid-Atlantic for this year’s James Beard Awards.

The 2024 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists for the James Beard Awards were announced on Wednesday. 

Nominees will be announced on April 3, and winners will be announced at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on June 10 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Mother-daughter duo

Gulshan, in her sixties, runs the restaurant with her daughter out of a former deli, the New York Times said in a story in 2018.

Bangladeshi-born chef Nur-E Gulshan Rahman along with her daughter. Photo: Korai Kitchen website

Korai Kitchen opened in 2018 in New Jersey. 

"Amma was nominated for a James Beard Award today!!" posted the restaurant on social media Facebook on Wednesday.

"Words cannot express just how proud I am of my mom and our incredible team. What a beautiful moment of recognition for Bangladeshi food and for my insanely talented mother, who has honed her craft for over FIFTY YEARS!"

The post added: “When we first opened, my mom would sometimes say she felt like an imposter because she has no formal culinary training. Amma, you’ve shown that it’s not culinary school that makes a chef; it’s passion, talent, grit, and love, all of which you bring to Korai Kitchen day in and day out.”

“I’m so thrilled that others will finally know what all your kids have known all along — that you’re one hell of a chef, chef. Thank you @beardfoundation and everyone who nominated Amma, and thank you to our Korai family who continue to show up for us. Full of gratitude today,” the post read. 

“Speaking of foreign awards that matter, it brings me such joy to share that Ms Nur-E Gulshan Rahman of Korai Kitchen is a semifinalist for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic at the James Beard Awards. Given yearly by the James Beard Foundation, these are the most prestigious food-related awards in the United States, recognized by the best in the field,” said another Facebook post shared by Rahat Ahmed, founding partner and CEO at Anchorless Bangladesh.

“Not only has Korai Kitchen proudly brought Bangladeshi cuisine to the forefront of the American palate over the past decade, Rahman remains active everyday behind the stove to make sure everything served at her restaurant is legitimate Bangladeshi home cooking for anyone that wants a taste of our culture,” the post added. 

James Beard Awards

Established in 1990 and first given out in 1991, the James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards are one of five separate recognition programs of the James Beard Awards. 

The awards recognize exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability and a culture where all can thrive.

The James Beard Foundation Awards, sometimes known as the “Oscars of food,” are the most prestigious food-related awards in the United States which recognizes eateries and chefs who create exceptional food, food media content and better food systems, the organization said. 

They also demonstrate a commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability and a culture where all can thrive.

The awards honour both restaurants and their chefs in various categories.

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