Food & Drink

Raleigh's Ashley Christensen is Eater’s national Chef of the Year

Online food publication Eater named Raleigh’s Ashley Christensen national chef of the year.
Online food publication Eater named Raleigh’s Ashley Christensen national chef of the year.

Beloved at home and admired beyond, Ashley Christensen is Eater’s national chef of the year.

The food blog Eater announced its eighth annual Eater Awards Tuesday, with Christensen’s honor leading the pack. The chef and owner of Poole’s Diner, among other local hot spots, helped bring national food relevancy to Raleigh when it opened 10 years ago.

The Eater critics said Christensen stands out for more than her acclaimed cooking, bringing a voice and sizeable platform to issues facing the restaurant industry and the Triangle community where she’s made her home.

“Whether it’s publicly taking a stand against (North Carolina’s) ‘Bathroom Bill’ or speaking out against sexual harassment and misogyny, Christensen leads by example,” the site wrote.

The award comes about a month after Eater’s critic named Poole’s Diner one of the 38 Essential Restaurants in the country, the only one from North Carolina to appear on the list.

“The seat of Ashley Christensen’s empire effortlessly bonds Southern and French cuisines,”’s restaurant editor Bill Addison said of Poole’s last month. “The menu is always changing with the seasons, but the maraconi au gratin is forever.”

Christensen was the 2014 James Beard award winner for Best Chef: Southeast and has won numerous other accolades.

She is The News & Observer’s 2017 Tar Heel of the Year with fellow chef Vivian Howard of Kinston’s Chef and the Farmer and PBS’ “A Chef’s Life.”

In-depth profiles and videos of Christensen and Howard will appear Dec. 14 on, the same day as an event that honors them along with previous Tar Heels of the Year. The event at the Crabtree Marriott in North Raleigh is open to the public.

The stories, along with extensive photos, will be published in print Sunday, Dec. 17.

Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson

Tar Heel of the Year

A Tar Heel of the Year event will honor Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard but also will celebrate past Tar Heels. The event is Dec. 14 at the Crabtree Marriott at 11:30 a.m. John Kane, the 2016 honoree, will recognize our 2017 winners. Terrence Holt and Tory Holt of the Holt Foundation will be special guests. For tickets and details, go to

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