Ashish Alfred, the owner and chef of Bethesda restaurants Duck Duck Goose and George’s Chophouse, is Maryland’s 2019 Chef of the Year.
The Restaurant Association of Maryland, a trade group of 2,000 members, gives the honor each year to “an executive chef who demonstrates consistent standards of excellence, serves as an inspiration to other foodservice professionals, displays dedication to the artistry of food and exhibits ongoing commitment to the community,” according to Monday’s announcement. Alfred was one of five nominees for the award.
“It’s an amazing thing to be recognized,” he said in a Monday telephone interview. “You push your team and yourself to do the best you can do every day.”
Alfred said he “fell into cooking accidentally,” not wanting to be a chef as a child, but finding that it was a “good excuse to move to New York City.” But he said he fell in love with the kitchen from day one.
“What makes it worthwhile is looking out into a busy dining room and doing a happy dance while you’re eating,” he said.
Alfred, 33, said he found out about the honor Sunday night and was “elated for himself his staff and his clients.”
Duck Duck Goose, which opened in 2016, has received a number of awards in the past, including one Bethesda Magazine’s Top 10 favorite new restaurants. Alfred opened a second location of the restaurant in Baltimore last year.
Alfred grew up in the area and trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, according to a recent profile in The Washington Post, in which he discussed his struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.
Among the other honors the restaurant association announced Monday were:
– An induction of Bethesda’s Tastee Diner into the Maryland Hospitality Hall of honor, which honors restaurants that have been in business for 20 years or more.
– Clyde’s, which has a restaurant in Chevy Chase and Tower Oaks Lodge in Rockville, was honored as a “favorite restaurant.”
– Moby Dick House of Kabob, which has a Bethesda location, was honored as a “favorite fast casual restaurant.”
– Honey Pig Korean Barbeque, which has a Rockville location, received the “Favorite International Cuisine Restaurant” award.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org