Karen Akunowicz- Executive Chef/Partner
Chef Karen Akunowicz is a 2015, 2016 James Beard Nominee for Best Chef Northeast. She competed on Season 13 of Bravo TV’s Top Chef-California, and she is the Executive Chef/Partner at Myers+Chang in Boston, MA.
She co-authored the Myers+Chang at Home Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin 2017) and was called one of the “ 21 Badass Women Changing the Food Word” by Marie Claire Magazine.
A New Jersey native, Karen graduated from UMass Amherst and moved to Boston. For years, she studied the art of hospitality as she bartended and managed restaurants. Drawn to the heat, pressure and hustle of the kitchen she enrolled at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.
She worked for Chef Michael Schlow and Christopher Myers at Via Matta in Boston’s Back Bay and helped to open the eclectic Beehive restaurant.
Throwing herself though a cracked window of opportunity, she packed her knives and moved to Modena, Italy. She found a red bicycle, inspiration and renewed passion for preparing even the simplest of food. Armed with a fool’s artillery of very little Italian, and no place to live, she staged at a small osteria, made pasta with little old ladies, and finally became the Chef at L’Avion blu Enoteca.
On return to the States, Karen had the opportunity to work for Chef Ana Sortun as her Sous Chef at Oleana restaurant in Cambridge. Karen embraced the farm to table mentality and studied Sortun's creative spice-driven cuisine.
A twist of fate landed her at UTEC Lowell, where created the Fresh Roots Culinary Program. She worked with Lowell’s most disengaged youth to teach them culinary skills and help them find employment. She was able to combine her passion for cooking and her desire to create community while teaching young people valuable job skills in a difficult economy.
As Executive Chef at Myers+Chang, Karen strives to create powerful, addictive, crave-able dishes that keep Myers+Chang at the top of everyone's go to list. She is married to her sweetheart LJ, who is an awesome vegetarian.