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South Dakota chefs are semifinalists in prestigious James Beard Awards

CUSTER, S.D.  – Two South Dakota chefs have been announced as semifinalist nominees for the 2023 James Beard Awards.

The James Beard Awards are considered one of the highest honors in the culinary industry and  recognizes the best and the brightest of the nation’s dining scene. These prestigious accolades honor not only chefs and restaurants that demonstrate excellence in quality, but those who contribute positively to their communities.

Both Sanaa Abourezk from Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean in Sioux Falls and Joseph Raney from Skogen Kitchen in Custer are listed as semifinalists in the best chef category for the Midwest Region.

“It is such an honor to celebrate these two outstanding South Dakota chefs,” said James Hagen, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism. “Anybody who has been to their restaurants can easily understand why they are semifinalists for this incredible award. Sanaa and Joseph have elevated the culinary experience in our state. Their menus are satisfying palettes from around the globe and are making South Dakota a culinary destination.”

Skogen Kitchen is described as a chef driven concept, offering innovative breakfast and dinner options. Owners Eliza Raney (General Manager) and Joseph Raney (Executive Chef) have worked and learned from some of the best companies in the food service industry such as Disney and Patina Restaurant group. Together, they bring their experience to Custer.

Skogen means “The Forest” in Norwegian. This name is a nod to couple’s heritage and surroundings. The menu features influences from several cultures.

Finalists will be announced on March 29, and winners will be awarded at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on June 5 in Chicago, Illinois.


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