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Pulapaka to Cook at Beard Gala

Written By Scott Joseph On April 18, 2018

Pulapaka rise

Central Florida’s chefs aren’t worthy of James Beard Awards — or, this year, even nominations — but apparently they’re good enough to cook for the ones who are.

Hari Pulapaka, chef and co-owner of Cress restaurant in DeLand, has been invited to cook at the reception following the James Beard Awards presentation in Chicago on May 7.

This year’s theme for the gala is Rise, which I assumed had something to do with baking bread. But no. According to a release from the organization, Rise “celebrates the community of chefs who rise to the occasion—whether to feed those in need, to stand up for what they believe in, to support their local communities, or to express their personal stories through their cooking.”

Pulapaka certainly qualifies. He and his wife and co-owner, Jenneffer, hosted the Solidarity Sunday dinner that was held on the street in front of the restaurant and featured foods from nations that had earlier been designated shithole countries.

He will be cooking alongside other chefs from around the country who have participated in the Beard Foundation sponsored Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change. Pulapaka’s theme is I Rise for Humanity. His dish is Lionfish Bhel Puri, inspired by his hometown of Mumbai.

Central Florida had no nominees for this year’s Beard Awards, although Pulapaka has been nominated four times in the past.

Others cooking at the gala include:

South Steel SJO March AD copy

Awards Gala Reception
Charleen Badman
FnB, Scottsdale, AZ

Jamilka Borges
The Independent, Pittsburgh

Amy Brandwein
Centrolina, Washington, D.C.

Katie Button
Nightbell, Asheville, NC

JBF Award Winner Tim Byres
Smoke, Dallas

Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer
Chef Shack Companies, Minneapolis

Alexandra Clark
Presented by Valrhona
Bon Bon Bon, Detroit

Erika Dupree Cline
Bleu Chocolat, Jacksonville, FL

Graeme Cockburn
Presented by Windstar Cruises

JBF Award Winner Justin Devillier 
Presented by Tabasco©
La Petite Grocery

JBF Award Winner Debbie Gold
Tied House, Chicago

Asha Gomez
The Third Space, Atlanta

JBF Award Winner Sarah Grueneberg
Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio, Chicago

Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer
Kismet, Los Angeles

Brother Luck
Presented by Skuna Bay Salmon 
Four by Brother Luck, Colorado Springs, CO

Ouita Michel
Holly Hill Inn, Midway, KY

JBF Award Winner Kevin Nashan
Sidney Street Café and the Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co., St. Louis

Mario Pagán
Mario Pagán Restaurant, San Juan, PR

JBF Award Winner Ana Sortun
Oleana, Cambridge, MA

Jeffrey Steelman 
Presented by HMSHost 
Wicker Park Seafood & Sushi Bar, Chicago

Sarah Tibbetts
Presented by Valrhona
Valrhona, NYC

JBF Award Winner Greg Vernick
Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia

Fabio Viviani
Presented by Lavazza
Mercado, Chicago

Cathy Whims
Nostrana, Portland, OR

JBF Award Winner Rebecca Wilcomb
Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant, New Orleans

Erling Wu-Bower 
Presented by Breville®
Pacific Standard Time, Chicago

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