James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: Tim and Nancy Cushman

With the hopes of becoming a musician, Tim Cushman, moved to California after earning his Bachelors degree from Berklee College of Music. Like many aspiring musicians, he took a job at a restaurant and there he would begin his culinary career. Throughout next 30 years, Cushman spent his time traveling the world and cooking in restaurants in Japan, France, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Taiwan. After his stint all over the world he came back home and in 2007 he and his wife Nancy, opened up O Ya.

Since opening the restaurant, they have received numerous accolades, including being named as the #1 new restaurant in the United States (2008) by The New York Times food critic Frank Bruni. Cushman has received praised by numerous publications such as Food & Wine Magazine, Bon Appetit and Details magazines, recognizing O Ya as one of the Top 10 Sushi Restaurants in the U.S. In 2012, Cushman was given the James Beard award for Best Chef Northeast. Since then, Cushman and his wife Nancy have opened two more restaurants: Roof at Park South in New York in 2014 and izakaya style Hojoko in Boston earlier this year.

Nomination: Outstanding Wine Program (O Ya)

For more information on the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalists, click here.

James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: Ashley Christensen

In college, Ashley Christensen began cooking by throwing dinner parties for her friends and family. She then recognized her passion for cooking and sharing food,  which lead her to take her first professional cooking job at the age of 21. After years of working in various top restaurants, she would become a restaurateur in 2007, opening Poole’s Dinner. Four years later, she opened three new restaurants, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck and Fox Liquor. In 2014, Ashley was awarded the James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Southeast.” Then a year later she opened two new ventures, Death & Texas, a restaurant celebrating wood-fire cooking with Southern ingredients and Bridge Club, a private event loft and cooking classroom. Ashley’s work has gained national attention from such publications as Bon Appétit, Gourmet, The New York Times, Southern Living and Garden & Gun. She has appeared on Food Network’s popular series Iron Chef America and MSNBC’s Your Business. She has also  completed ICC’s Sous-Vide Intensive program.

NominationOutstanding Chef (Poole’s Diner)  

For more information on the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalists, click here.