Topeka chef among 20 nominees for best chef in the Midwest award

A Topeka chef is in the running for an award dubbed the “Oscars of food.”
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 10:40 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Topeka chef is in the running for an award dubbed the “Oscars of food.”

“The other morning I woke up and one of my Kansas City, Chef friends tagged me in this post and that’s how I found out. If he wouldn’t have, I don’t know if I would have found out. One way or the other I would have. He tagged me and I was in shock, so I texted my wife and we looked it up,” recalls Chef Adam VanDonge, owner of The White Linen and The Knox Cocktail Lounge.

Chef VanDonge says it’s quite a surprise. He is among 20 nominees for best chef in the Midwest.

“I’m just still in shock. I’m kind of at a loss for words too because my goal coming to Topeka was always to put Topeka on the map for fine dining and restaurants and it’s slowly getting there,” says Chef VanDonge.

James beard awards are the food industry’s highest honor, known as the Oscars of food. They recognize the best in the culinary industry from chefs and restaurants to books and lifetime achievements.

“The boost, it’s just rewarding for all of us from me to my wife, to my waiters, to my dishwasher, to my bartenders, I mean I told them this would never be possible without them. My team is like my family,” says Chef VanDonge.

VanDonge says whether he gets top place or not he is still grateful for the nomination.

“I just feel so honored just to be recognized with those people, because I know on that list I know those chefs. Some are in Kansas City, I know them personally. I’ve been to their restaurants and there are just some good chefs out there,” says Chef VanDonge.