Raleigh has all of the hallmarks of a foodie city – a diverse population, an amazing array of restaurants featuring cuisine from all over the world, and nationally-recognized famous chefs that make it all happen!

Raleigh’s amazing class of local rock-star chefs come from all over the world and include James Beard winners and nominees. Many of them have also been featured in national publications with rave reviews.

Check out our list of some of Raleigh’s most popular local chefs, which all happen to be based out of the Downtown Raleigh area…

Cheetie Kumar

Did you know that Raleigh is home to a Rock Star Chef? Cheetie Kumar rocks on the guitar as well as in the kitchen! It’s fitting that in addition to her restaurant, Garland, she also owns two of Raleigh’s most popular music venues – Kings and Neptune’s Parlour.

Kumar was a James Beard semi-finalist in 2017 and has been featured in Saveur and Food & Wine Magazine. Garland serves amazing pan-Asian cuisine for lunch and dinner. It recently started serving brunch on Saturdays. Try the kimchi pancake!

Oscar Diaz

What happens when a classical French-style trained chef creates unique Mexican dishes? Absolute deliciousness! Oscar Diaz trained under Executive Chef André Rochat at the Michelin-recognized French restaurant Alizé Las Vegas.

He moved to North Carolina in 2011 and teamed up with the Ibarra family. Together, they opened Jibarra, which then transformed into Jose & Sons. Most recently, they opened The Cortez Seafood + Cocktail.

Scott Crawford

Scott Crawford is a four-time James Beard Foundation semifinalist. Under his direction, Herons in The Umstead Hotel and Spa obtained a Forbes Five-Star award. He opened his own restaurant, Crawford & Son, in 2016 to rave reviews. Crawford has been featured in Southern Living and was once named among the top 100 chefs in America by Esquire Magazine.

Ashley Christensen

Ashley Christensen discovered her love of cooking in college, where she relished in throwing dinner parties for her family and friends. She opened her first restaurant, Poole’s Diner, in 2007 and the rest is history! Christensen has been featured in Bon Appétit, The New York Times, Southern Living, and Garden & Gun.

In 2017, she won the James Beard Award. In addition to Poole’s Diner, Christensen opened Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck’s, Death & Taxes, and Fox Liquor Bar. Her latest venture, Pooleside Pie, is expected to open in 2018.

Sunny Gerhart

In Raleigh, we are always looking forward to this list of famous local chefs to expand slowly but surely. The true hallmark of a great chef is encouraging mentees to strike out on their own and Ashley Christensen did just that with upcoming and sure to be famous chef Sunny Gerhart. Gerhart was a part of Christensen’s team for nearly ten years and wanted to strike out on his own with a cool new venture.

Christensen turned over the location of her coffee shop to Gerhart and gave him her blessing. Gerhart opened St. Roch Fine Oysters + Bar in 2017. The fresh oysters and Cajun-style entrees are delicious and we look forward to seeing what Gerhart does next!

So wo are some of your favorite local chefs in Raleigh? Please be sure to hit us up on Twitter @919BlogNC or visit our Facebook page at FB.com/919Blog and let us know! We would love to hear from ya.

This post was created in collaboration with 919 Blog contributor Amy Howard for exclusive digital publication on 919Blog.com