Fox & the Knife, Boston
CHEF & OWNER KAREN AKUNOWICZ’S STORY
2018 James Beard Foundation Award winner for Best Chef: Northeast. 2020 James Beard Award finalist for “Best New Restaurant”. Chef/owner of Fox & the Knife Enoteca in South Boston, which was named one of Food & Wine’s 10 Best New Restaurants in 2019, and proprietor of the fast-casual poke concept, SloPoke, in Downtown Boston Whole Foods Market – Karen Akunowicz has a few things under her belt.
Karen began her 16-year career working at local restaurants while pursuing a degree in social work from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She learned every facet of management, working both in front of and back of house. It wasn’t until when she was applying for a Master’s Degree in social work that she decided to pivot and attend the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.
Karen graduated from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in 2004 and set off on her professional culinary career as a cook at Ten Tables restaurant in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. From there, she accepted a position at the restaurant Via Matta in Boston’s Back Bay where she fell in love with Italian food. In 2008, she decided to fully immerse herself in Italian cuisine moving to Modena, Italy for a year, serving as the Chef at L’Avian Blu.
In 2009, she returned home to Massachusetts to work for James Beard Award-winning chef Ana Sortun as the Sous Chef at Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge.
In 2011, she took on the opportunity to serve as the Executive Chef at Myers+Chang for seven years. During her tenure there she received both local and national praise, including a four-star review in The Boston Globe, and in 2016 was named Boston Magazine’s “Best Chef in 2016.”
In 2015, she quickly became a fan favorite when she competed on Bravo’s Emmy-nominated show, “Top Chef.” In 2016, she was named one of the “21 Badass Women Changing the Food World” by Marie Claire, and the following year she co-authored Myers+Chang at Home (Houghton Mifflin; 2017) with Chef Joanne Chang.
In 2018, she made the bold decision to open her own restaurant, Fox & the Knife, which came to fruition in the winter of 2019. Inspired by her experience in Modena, Fox & the Knife is a casual and contemporary homage to the food, wine, culture, and spirit of that city. The Fox & the Knife menu highlights her flair for the soul-satisfying, graceful Italian food that she honed while working in Italy. And in just three months of opening, Fox & the Knife was named one of Food & Wine’s 2019 Best New Restaurants!
Karen currently lives in Boston with her partner in business and in life, LJ Johnson. In addition to receiving critical acclaim for her cuisine, Akunowicz is also known for her bold personal style and signature vivid pink hair (symbolic of her support of femme queers).
28 W Broadway
Boston, MA 02127