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North Carolina Chefs Win Big at James Beard Awards

Congrats to Katie Button, Ricky Moore, and Meherwan Irani

James Beard Awards medal Victor Spinelli/Getty
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

For the first time since 2019, the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony took place in Chicago last night, and North Carolina took home three of the highly coveted titles.

Chefs, restaurateurs, and other hospitality world insiders gathered at the Lyric Opera of Chicago for the splashy, red carpet event, with chef Kwame Onwuachi as host.

Chef Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham won Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV). Chef Katie Button took home the title of Outstanding Hospitality for Cúrate in Asheville. Chef Meherwan Irani won Outstanding Restaurant for Chai Pani in Asheville.

In his acceptance speech, Irani said “Restaurants are so much greater than the sum of what’s inside the four walls. A restaurant has the power to transform — transform the people that work there; transform the people that come in; transform the communities that we’re in; transform society. Restaurants can transform the world.”

Moore went live on Instagram to share his gratitude and thank his team at Saltbox. Cúrate posted on Instagram, “We are stunned and humbled to be recognized for a commitment to hosting each and every one of you who walk through our doors.”

Eater has the complete list of winners here.