Kru founder, chef named finalist for James Beard Award

(FOX40.COM) — A Sacramento chef and restaurant founder is in the running a prestigious culinary award.

Kru Restaurant founder and chef Buu “Billy” Ngo is one of five finalists for the James Beard Award in the California best chef category. 

Ngo is one of two finalists from Northern California with the other being Geoff Davis of Oakland. Kru is a contemporary Japanese restaurant in East Sacramento that serves sushi rolls, nigiri and sashimi.

The James Beard Award, established in 1991, is considered among the nation’s most prestigious honors in the food industry. The award is given out by the James Beard Foundation, a non-profit that celebrates and supports the people behind America’s food culture and restaurant industry.

The award and founder is named after chef and food pioneer James Beard.

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This year’s James Beard Awards recognizes restaurants and chefs across the country across 22 categories.

In January, Ngo was one of 20 semifinalists in the category and the only chef with Sacramento-area ties.

Ngo was born in a refugee camp in Hong Kong and moved to Sacramento when he was eight months old, according to his bio on the restaurant’s website. 

His culinary career began at Fuji’s in Sacramento and he worked at sushi restaurants in the city prior to opening Kru in 2005. Ngo is a graduate of California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

Along with his duties at Kru, Ngo is also a partner at Kodiako Ramen and Bar in downtown Sacramento, Fish Face Poke Bar and Healthy Hounds Kitchen.

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