“I find a great deal of joy and inspiration working right here in Raleigh, N.C. There is something about being in a certain place at a certain time.”-Chef Ashley Christensen

Fast facts

  • Chef Ashley Christensen was named 2019 America’s Best Chef 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, North Carolina
  • A sixth venture—a pizza place—is expected to open later in 2019

Chef Ashley Christensen—known to many as the face of Raleigh’s booming scene since opening Poole’s Diner in 2007—was awarded the title of Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation on Mon., May 6. The award is the highest individual honor for a chef, and Christensen is the only North Carolina chef to ever win the award.

A fierce philanthropist and accomplished restaurateur, Christensen’s downtown Raleigh culinary empire now spans five eating and drinking establishments (an underground liquor bar named for her father and a raved-about chicken and waffle jointamong others). A sixth venture—a pizza place—is expected to open late in 2019.

Poole’s Diner

Poole’s, a 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. The macaroni, one of a few items that never leaves the chalkboard, is made with three cheeses, topped with sea salt and finished with the broiler (more than 15,000 dishes are sold each year!).

Read her full story here

See 2 Recipes From Chef Christensen’s new book, order a signed copy, and find out more about Raleigh, North Carolina here.