Fox & the Knife - Taleggio Stuffed Focaccia
“I knew that I wanted to serve focaccia at Fox & the Knife, I just wasn’t sure exactly how. Did we bake it on sheet trays and cut like Sicilian pizza? Did we shape it in individual loaves for each table? When I finally moved into the restaurant space, I found we had inherited a LOT of pie pans, and I needed to make use of every little thing we had. We opened with a small budget and needed to keep it that way. I knew immediately we would bake the focaccia in those pie pans. I originally wanted to top it with stracciatella, but as we tested it over and over, I knew that it wasn’t quite right. Finally the idea came to fill it with a strong yummy cheese; taleggio was a perfect foil for the focaccia, but it didn’t have that cheesy pull-ability I wanted. So, I added mozzarella and our focaccia was born! This dish remains everyone’s favorite. It eats like the most delicious grown-up grilled cheese. It was named one of the “Best Bites of 2019” by Food & Wine magazine and that cheese pull was all over Instagram. Perfect for the bread baker in all of us that has emerged in the time of COVID-19.” – Chef Karen
Not safe for a gluten or dairy allergy
This recipe gives back to No Kid Hungry.
"Millions of kids face hunger all across the United States, in every community. We have plenty of food in this country, and we have effective programs to feed kids. The problem is not enough families have access to them. No Kid Hungry is working to fix that." - Chef Karen
CHEF & OWNER KAREN AKUNOWICZ'S STORY
Karen Akunowicz is the 2018 James Beard Foundation Award winner for Best Chef: Northeast, 2020 James Beard Award finalist for “Best New Restaurant,” the Chef/Owner of Fox & the Knife enoteca in South Boston, named one of Food & Wine’s ten Best New Restaurants 2019, and proprietor of the fast-casual poke concept, SloPoke, in Downtown Boston Whole Foods Market.
A native of Kearny, New Jersey, Akunowicz’s 16-year career began with jobs at local restaurants taken while pursuing a degree in social work from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. During this time she explored every facet of management, working both in front of and back of house. However it wasn’t until Akunowicz was applying for a Master’s Degree in social work that she decided to pivot and attend Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.
Upon graduating the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in 2004, Akunowicz embarked on her professional culinary career as a cook making local farm-to-table fare at the beloved Ten Tables restaurant in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Thereafter, she accepted a position at restaurant Via Matta in Boston’s Back Bay and fell in love with Italian food. In 2008, she decided to fully immerse herself in Italian cuisine by living and cooking in Modena, Italy for a year, serving as the Chef at L’Avian Blu.
Returning home to Massachusetts, in 2009, Akunowicz went to work for James Beard Award-winning chef Ana Sortun as the Sous Chef at Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge. There she studied the powerful spice-driven cuisine of the Middle East and fully embraced the true farm-to-table approach that was a cornerstone of the restaurant.
In 2011, a new opportunity beckoned, and for seven years Akunowicz led the kitchen at Myers+Chang as Executive Chef, creating powerful, spicy and craveable dishes, drawing inspiration from Chinese, Taiwanese, and Southeast Asian cuisine. During her tenure there she received both local and national praise, including a four-star review in The Boston Globe, and in 2016 was named Boston Magazine’s
“Best Chef in 2016.”
In 2015, Akunowicz became a fan favorite when she competed on Bravo’s Emmy-nominated show, "Top Chef.” In 2016, she was named one of the “21 Badass Women Changing the Food World” by Marie Claire, and the following year she co-authored Myers+Chang at Home (Houghton Mifflin; 2017) with Chef Joanne Chang.
In 2018, Akunowicz won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award in the category of Best Chef: Northeast. She also made the momentous decision to strike out on her own to open a restaurant. Opened in winter 2019, Fox & the Knife, inspired by her time spent cooking in Modena, Italy, is a casual and contemporary homage to the food, wine, culture and spirit of that city, all presented with a warm welcome in a high energy atmosphere. The Fox & the Knife menu highlights Akunowicz’s flair for the soul-satisfying, graceful Italian food that she honed while working in Italy as a pasta maker and Chef of L’Avian Blu Enoteca. At Fox & the Knife, the bold flavors of exceptional ingredients are expressed through both traditional and modern techniques to introduce new versions of beloved classics. In just 3 months of opening, Fox & the Knife was named one of Food & Wine’s 2019 Best New Restaurants.
Akunowicz currently lives in Boston with her partner in business and in life, LJ Johnson, and they married in 2014. Akunowicz has also become almost as well known for her personal style and signature vivid pink hair (which is symbolic of her support of femme queers) as for her critically-acclaimed cuisine. In addition to being the fan favorite on the 13th season of Bravo’s Top Chef, Akunowicz has also appeared as a judge on the program in Season 16 and competed in Season 17 of Top Chef: All-Stars L.A. She has been profiled on CBS Saturday Morning’s “The Dish” series, and has been featured as a contestant on Beat Bobby Flay. Akunowicz has also been featured in national publications such as Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Forbes and Wall Street Journal Magazine.
Boston, MA 02127