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Chef Kwame Onwuach Dishes On His Flavor Profile

By Christine Benedetti | October 19, 2020 | Food & Drink

James Beard Award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi has perfected his recipe for success.


Kwame Onwuachi has many titles on his résumé these days, including executive chef, author and James Beard Award winner. “I’m still a chef at the end of the day,” he says. “I come up with a menu, and my creativity is inspired by life itself, through travels, through reading, through meeting new people or experiencing new foods.” Last year, Onwuachi was named rising star chef by the James Beard Foundation, earning critical praise for his Washington, D.C.-based, Caribbean- influenced restaurant Kith/Kin.

The 30-year-old grew up in the Bronx and defied an early youth of street and gang life to eventually work in New York icons Per Se and Eleven Madison Park. He was named a best new chef by Food & Wine in 2019, debuting at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen—“It was a big experience,” he says. Onwuachi was set to return to Aspen this summer for the now- cancelled Food & Wine Classic (June 18 to 20, 2021), but in light of his absence he’s offered a recipe to keep readers satiated until then.


1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 bunch broccoli rabe florets
1 can white Great Northern beans
2 oz. chorizo
12 medium shrimp, peeled
1 large yellow onion, diced
12 garlic cloves, sliced
1 serrano chile, sliced
6 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
1⁄2 lemon
2 Tsp. smoked paprika
2 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt as needed

1. Take the chorizo (vegan sausage) and cut it into crumbles. Add to the pan with the onion, chile and garlic on medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent, then add the beans, chicken stock, bay leaves and thyme. Simmer for 10 minutes.

2. While simmering, place canola oil in a saute pan on high heat. When the pan is smoking, add the broccoli rabe, season with salt and cook until caramelized on both sides. Remove from the pan.

3. Season the shrimp with the paprika and salt, and sear in the same pan on high heat. Add a little more oil if needed. Remove from the pan.

4. At this point the beans should be done cooking; season to taste. Plate the beans in a shallow bowl. Top with broccoli rabe and shrimp (or avocado slices, see below), squeeze the juice of half a lemon over top and enjoy!

Chorizo or Field Roast vegetarian 2 oz. Mexican sausage 1 avocado, sliced

Photography by: Scott Schuman