Kwame Onwuachi Is Opening A New Restaurant In NYC's Lincoln Center

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Among high stakes cooking competitions, Bravo's "Top Chef" is among the most exciting, having spawned numerous esteemed chefs like Kristen Kish and many more. One chef whose rise has been particularly thrilling is Kwame Onwuachi, who competed on Season 13 and has since returned to sit on the esteemed panel of judges, per Entertainment Tonight

Onwuachi was born into a New York family with limited financial resources and struggled with behavioral issues that culminated in his expulsion from college, per The New York Times. By his mid-20s, however, he'd turned his life around through cooking — first with a successful catering business, the proceeds of which he used to put himself through the esteemed Culinary Institute of America, and then with stints in the kitchens of Michelin-starred restaurants Per Se and Eleven Madison Park. By age 30, he'd already opened five restaurants. Although one was an epic failure, Onwuachi nevertheless persevered, including turning the 2016 failure of Shaw Bijou into part of the fascinating narrative of his memoir, "Notes from a Young Black Chef." 

When the James Beard Foundation award-winner left D.C.'s highly regarded Kith and Kin, it was to pursue owning a restaurant of his own, per The New York Times. That dream has come to fruition this week with the opening of Tatiana in New York City's Lincoln Center.

Kwami Onwuachi's return to New York is stunning

On November 1, award-winning chef and author Kwame Onwuachi saw his "longtime dream come true" with the opening of Tatiana in New York City's Lincoln Center, per a statement sent to Tasting Table. And it's no generic chef's dream either, but rather, one that seems extraordinarily personal to Onwuachi. 

For starters, Tatiana is named for Onwuachi's sister. Further, the restaurant's design, on which Onwuachi collaborated with an architecture firm, pays homage to the Lincoln Center neighborhood's roots as a vibrant mid-20th century art scene, as the chef explains via Instagram. It's also meant to honor Onwuachi's childhood in 1990s South Bronx, New York. Even the staff's uniforms, which represent a collaboration between Onwuachi and designer Tanya Amini of Lady and Butler, are meant to complement the design and overarching themes of the space. 

Further, the eatery's menu reflects the "Top Chef" alum's highly cultivated culinary knowledge and experience with influences from New York, Nigeria, and Louisiana, according to Restaurant Business Online. For example, the Short Rib Pastrami Suya is premised on suya, a Nigerian street food made with skewered beef, but prepared using smoky pastrami made from Wagyu short rib. 

According to Eater, Onwuachi hopes Tatiana will be regarded as a place where "people just feel comfortable, man." For now, the chef's fans appear to be going out of their way on Instagram in helping Onwuachi feel comfortable — and adored — as he awaits the reviews.