She is outstanding – not easy to be awarded Best Chef in America
USA. HUGE. FOOD NEWS. She is known to many as the face of Raleigh’s booming scene since opening Poole’s Diner in 2007. Now Ashley Christensen was awarded the title of Best Chef in America. The award is the highest individual honor for a chef, and Christensen is the only North Carolina chef to ever win the award. Christensen’s downtown Raleigh culinary empire now spans five eating and drinking establishment.
Fast facts about Chef Ashley
- Chef Ashley Christensen was named Best Chef in America by the James Beard Foundation
- The award is the highest individual honor for a chef at the “Oscars of the food world”
- Christensen opened the famed Poole’s Diner in 2007 and now has five eating and drinking spots in downtown Raleigh
- A sixth venture—a pizza place—is expected to open later in 2019
- Downtown Raleigh, the historic center of North Carolina’s capital city. Raleigh is known as the “City of Oaks” for its many oak trees.
Recipes and Stories
The award comes as a well-earned cap on more good news over the last few years. Upon the release of her first book in 2016, “Poole’s: Recipes and Stories From a Modern Diner. And more recently, the chef was named Tar Heel of the Year for her role in “reinventing North Carolina’s food and dining culture.
In her acceptance speech Christensen reminds her food cohorts, “don’t forget kindness.”
Comfort food like fried chicken, macaroni and cheese
Poole’s Diner. Pool is modern diner with retro-chic charm that includes its signature double-horseshoe bar, will always be the original Christensen restaurant that breathed new life into downtown Raleigh. It’s likely her most personal offering, too.
The menu—scrawled across giant, mural-sized chalkboards on the restaurant walls—is filled with hearty, rich and unapologetic comfort food items like short rib pot pie and macaroni au gratin.
What’s next for Christensen
Christensen, whose team in Raleigh has grown to more than 250 employees, isn’t done yet. She has plans to open a pizza place—Poole’side Pies— in the space directly next to Poole’s Diner.
The acclaimed chef has teamed up with locally-loved salad shop Happy + Hale to create the Poole’side Salad. Included shredded kale, charred squash, roasted tomatoes, smoked mozzarella, baked soppressata and more.
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Learn more about Ashley’s eating and drinking establishments here.