Chef 'Humbled' that Cardamom Hill Nominated as Best New Restaurant in U.S.
Asha Gomez, the owner-chef of the westside restaurant, has also been nominated as one of The People's Best New Chefs by FOOD & WINE magazine.
Cardamom Hill in west Atlanta is the only Atlanta restaurant named a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant by prestigious James Beard Foundation this year.
"It is an honor when the best most refined palates in the country chose you to be in such esteemed company... I am humbled and elated beyond words that the James Beard Foundation deemed us worthy," said Cardamom Hill's owner-chef Asha Gomez in an email.
Gomez brings authentic dishes from and inspired by her home, Kerala, a state in southern India and some new innovative dishes that put a twist on American Southern fare. She says the similarities of dishes from the Indian south and the American South are subtle, yet undeniable.
"I prepare meals that represent my roots and also my evolution as a chef," Gomez stated. "I dislike the word fusion...I prefer to think of it as an evolution when it comes to cuisine... My roots are the Indian south... my home today is the American south, and I am creating dishes that allow the synergy between these two cuisines to happen effortlessly."
"We are in the midst of a Southern food renaissance. I'm excited to be part of helping to define the new global southern cuisine, the evolution of which has been happening for centuries."
For anyone who's been to Cardamom Hill, it's easy to see and taste what sets it apart.
Gomez explained what she believes makes her restaurant so unique that the James Beard Foundation took notice.
"I have always believed that the American palate has been at a disadvantage because they have not been exposed to the incredibly diverse flavors and cooking styles found in the Indian diaspora... I have also known that the American palate is very refined and that I did not need to dumb my food down," she said.
Now, after having her first restaurant recognized as one of the best in the country, Gomez has been nominated as one of The People's Best New Chefs, a field of 100 nominees includes 10 chefs from 10 regions. FOOD & WINE magazine announced the nominees on Monday.
Fine cuisine lovers can vote online from now through March 18 to determine The People's Best New Chef. The winner will be revealed on March 19 on FOOD & WINE's website; the winner will also be featured in the July 2013 issue of FOOD & WINE, the same issue that profiles the Best New Chefs.
The 2013 James Beard Foundation Award final nominees will be announced on March 18.