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June 25, 2018 06:12 PM

Local Chef Gets Invite From James Beard Foundation

A Sioux Falls chef is on a mission to do "good" after being invited to a special camp run by the James Beard Foundation in New York. Sanaa Abourezk owns Sanaa's Gourmet Mediterranean Restaurant in downtown Sioux Falls. 

Abourezk has run this restaurant at 8th and Railroad for 14 years now. When she got an email from the James Beard Foundation wanting her to attend a special chef camp this month, she says she was ready. 

"It's an Oscar of food. Absolutely. If I had to walk there I would have walked there," Sanaa said. 

More than a dozen chefs from different states were brought to the camp in New York to learn about sustainable agriculture.

"It was fantastic. They took us to upstate New York, a farm, about an hour and a half drive from New York," Sanaa said. 

Not only did they give her new tips on how to create healthy food, they're also asking local chefs to be active in their communities.

Something Sanaa already does. Every year she has a special dinner that raises money for Feeding South Dakota. Her focus, making sure kids are well fed. That was also a topic at the James Beard Foundation camp. 

"Children should not be hungry. Irrespective what your political point of view. Irrespective what your income. Our children in the United States should not go to bed hungry," Sanaa said.  

On top of raising money for Feeding South Dakota, she plans to add an additional fundraiser this year for the organization "No Kid Hungry." In the meantime, she'll continue cooking healthy and encouraging everyone to eat healthy. 

"We want people to broaden their horizon. We don't fry. Everything cooked from scratch. We are green restaurant certified by the city. So that's basically what our mission. Not only be good for our body, good for the community, good for the environment while you're enjoying the food. We don't want bland food," Sanaa said. 

Earlier this month, the James Beard Foundation named Sanaa one of fifteen "change maker" chefs in the country to watch.

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