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Chicago Chef Makes History as First Black Woman Awarded Michelin Star

Chicago Chef Makes History as First Black Woman Awarded Michelin Star

#Restaurantinc podcast features Kikko/Kumiko’s Mariya Russell

Chicago chef Mariya Russell is very soft spoken. She’s even a bit shy in person. But when she starts gushing about food, she immediately lights up. And once Russell’s in her work kitchen—which cranks out globally inspired fare for dual establishments Kikko and Kumiko—she truly allows her food to speak for itself.

In less than a year, her food has spoken so eloquently and commanding that it’s garnered the restaurants, owned by renowned chef Noah Sandoval and beverage director Julia Momose, all sorts of accolades. From a highly regarded Japanese milk bread toast topped with fermented honey ice cream and truffle to the seven-course omakase experience, her cuisine has mesmerized the likes of Bon Appetit (“Top 50 of 2019”), Food & Wine (“Best New Restaurants”) and even Time (“100 Greatest Places of 2019”).

In October, she received the most significant honor of them all: a Michelin star. In doing so, she became the first-ever black woman to achieve such a milestone.

On the latest episode of the #restaurantinc podcast (You can also listen to the #restaurantinc podcast on iTunes), we discuss her incredible gastronomic journey, from her humble beginnings as an eager teenager in a high school culinary program to her historic Michelin star.

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