Karen Akunowicz

A New Jersey native (insert fist pump here) Karen graduated from UMass Amherst and moved to Boston. For years, she studied the art of hospitality as she bartended and managed restaurants. Drawn to the heat, pressure and hustle of the kitchen she enrolled at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.

After a stint at Ten Tables in her JP neighborhood, she went on to spend the next few years studying and cooking Italian food at Via Matta in Boston’s Back Bay working for Michael Schlow and Christopher Myers.

Throwing herself though a cracked window of opportunity, she packed her knives and moved to Modena, Italy. She found a red bicycle, inspiration and renewed passion for preparing even the simplest of food. Armed with a fool’s artillery of very little Italian, and no place to live, she staged at a small osteria, made pasta with little old ladies, and finally became the Chef at L’Avion blu Enoteca.

On return to the States, Karen had the opportunity to work for Chef Ana Sortun as her Sous Chef at Oleana restaurant in Cambridge. Karen embraced the farm to table mentality and studied Sortun's creative spice-driven cuisine.

A twist of fate landed her at UTEC Lowell, where created the Fresh Roots Culinary Program. She worked with Lowell’s most disengaged youth to teach them culinary skills and help them find employment. She was able to combine her passion for cooking and her desire to create community while teaching young people valuable job skills in a difficult economy.

She is thrilled to now be a part of the Myers+Chang team as Executive Chef and is constantly inspired by the sweet, spicy, powerful Asian cuisine.

Karen is a JP yoga femme who loves the lamb sandwich at Flour Bakery. When she’s not behind the stove, she is Om-ing in various asanas or jet setting to NJ to see her niece Olivia.