Valerie Chang of Maty's Awarded James Beard Best Chef: South

Valerie Chang

Chef Valerie Chang has been honored with the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef: South for her innovative work at Maty's, her Peruvian restaurant located in Midtown, Miami. At Maty's, Chang's modern take on comida criolla—a traditional Peruvian cuisine she grew up with in Chiclayo, Peru—has garnered widespread acclaim.

This marks Chang's first win for Best Chef: South, a region encompassing Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Puerto Rico. Previously, she was a James Beard semifinalist for Rising Star Chef in 2019 and 2020, and for Best Chef: South in 2022 and 2023.

The award announcement was made on the evening of Monday, June 10, as the Maty's staff watched the James Beard Award's live stream. Patrons dining at the restaurant joined in the celebration as the news spread and the staff congratulated each other.

In April, the James Beard Foundation revealed the 2024 finalists for the Restaurant and Chef Awards, one of the nation's most prestigious culinary honors. Chef Chang was among the finalists, selected from a list of semifinalists announced in January.

Now, Chang's culinary creations have officially captured the hearts and taste buds of the James Beard Foundation's critics and judges.
Valerie Chang
A fresh ceviche dish from critically acclaimed Maty's in Midtown Miami by chef Valerie Chang

Maty's, which opened in 2023, has received numerous accolades, including being ranked number 15 on Food & Wine's 2024 list of 20 "Global Tastemakers Best Restaurants in the U.S." This recognition came after Maty's was named one of Food & Wine's "Best New Chefs of 2023" and listed by Bon Appétit as one of the best new restaurants in the nation—the only Florida restaurant to make the list. It was also featured on the New York Times' "Restaurant List."

In 2018, Valerie Chang, alongside her brother Chef Nando Chang and their father, opened Itamae in the Miami Design District. This Nikkei restaurant, blending Peruvian-Japanese cuisine with local and seasonal ingredients, received a Michelin Bib Gourmand and was included in the New York Times’ 2021 Restaurant List. Since Itamae's closing, Nando has opened Itamae AO next to Maty's in Midtown.

Chef Chang's culinary journey is deeply influenced by her paternal grandmother, Marta, whose homemade Peruvian recipes inspired the dishes at Maty's. The restaurant's name pays homage to Marta, offering an intimate glimpse into Chang's childhood and heritage.

"Nando and I really wanted a place where we can both express ourselves creatively," Chang told New Times in March 2023, ahead of Maty's opening. "This is my take on my grandma Marta's cooking, but also my maternal grandmother and the other two women who helped shape me into the chef I am today. Even the menu will be written in my grandmother's handwriting. It's all about keeping that tradition alive."

Con la tecnología de Blogger.