Raleigh chef Cheetie Kumar has been named a finalist for Best Chef: Southeast in the coveted James Beard Awards.
Kumar, owner and executive chef at Garland in downtown Raleigh, was one of three Triangle chefs who were named semifinalists this year in the category for the awards celebrating the best chefs and restaurants in the country based on their work in 2019.
Kumar opened Garland in 2013. It’s an ethnic street food joint with a fare that is a combination of Kumar’s experiences in her native India and her time spent in New York and the South. Her eclectic dishes have attracted the attention of numerous media outlets – and even a 2018 piece in The New York Times.
She’s a self-taught chef who incorporates seasonally evolving foods into her multi-cultural menus. Entrees featuring lamb curry, tandoori chicken and bo ssam are found alongside lighter fare such as pakora and braised beets.
Kumar has twice before been named a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast, in 2017 and 2018.
In 2019, she was named one of TBJ’s People to Watch.
Another North Carolina chef, Katie Button of Curate in Asheville, is also a finalist for Best Chef: Southeast. The other local semifinalists in the category were Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham and Steven Devereaux Greene of Herons at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary.
This year’s James Beard Award winners for best chefs and restaurants will be announced Sept. 25.
In 2019, Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen took home the top award for Outstanding Chef in the U.S.