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Ann Kim of Young Joni is named Best Chef: Midwest at James Beard Awards

Young Joni chef is a winner at James Beard Awards

For the second year in a row, the chef recognized as the best in the Midwest can be found in Minneapolis.

Last year, Gavin Kaysen of Spoon & Stable walked away from the James Beard Foundation Awards as the Best Chef: Midwest winner.

On Monday, it was the turn of Ann Kim, the culinary genius behind innovative pizza joint Young Joni, in Northeast Minneapolis.

She beat competition from eight Midwestern states, including her fellow Minneapolis finalists Jamie Malone, of Grand Cafe, and Christina Nguyen of Hai Hai.

As she took to the podium to accept her award, a tearful Kim – who is also behind Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza in South Minneapolis – joked that she'd just come back from the bathroom because her "Spanx were so tight."

Kim said: "This is unbelievable because I'm standing here on this stage, and it has never been something that I thought could be in the realms of possibility.

"But here I stand, before you, and I stand here because 10 years ago I said f--- fear," she added, to cheers from the crowd.

Kim becomes the 6th Twin Cities chef to win the award, joining the likes of Tim McKee (La Belle Vie), Alex Roberts (Restaurant Alma), Isaac Becker (112 Eatery), Paul Berglund (Bachelor Farmer) and the aforementioned Kaysen.

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