Boise chef receives prestigious culinary nod

Posted at 10:41 PM, Feb 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 17:51:37-05
"I know it's my name, but it's everyone here. We're a really small group. We're like family," said Kris Komari, Chef of State and Lemp restaurant.
Kris Komari is one of two Boise chefs to receive a nod for a James Beard award.
"The James Beard award, I mean essentially it's like the Oscars for Chefs," explained Remi McManus, owner partner of State and Lemp restaurant.
The funny thing is, he almost never became a chef. He was applying for medical schools when he realized his fit was in the food industry.
He decided to go to culinary school, and somehow ended up in Boise.
He said he was laying low working for a local organic produce company when he heard about two men opening up a restaurant. 
"I came by after a market one Saturday afternoon and we hit it off really well. The next thing I knew we were putting carpet down and I was cooking," said Komari.
But at least one of the owners remembers it a little differently.
"I'm not even really sure we offered him the job. He walked in one day  and said i'll do it and then from then on it was game on," said McManus. "His first day he helped paint the wall and his second or third day, him and I were on our hands and knees laying down all of the carpet. It might have been two weeks later he started to cook. I didn't even know who he was [laughs].
While Kris is the first to say that it's his team that deserves the award, they couldn't stop talking about how amazing he is.
"A big reason of what keeps me here and what keeps me alive is being able to work with him. The tone that he sets, and his push for excellence and us never being content with where we are, like alright great, but what else can we do," said State and Lemp pastry chef Michelle Kwak.
"He takes us to another level which for us was the most exciting thing. We could recognize it right away. We were just stoked to have him," said Jay Henry owner partner of State and Lemp restaurant.
While Kris's name is the one listed, it's a big deal for State and Lemp, and getting the Boise food industry recognized.
"People's eyes are on this community which is really exciting. We're just happy to be on that list.  It's been overwhelmingly great. The number of bottles of celebratory whiskey has gotten a little out of hand [laughs]," said Henry.
For Kris, he said it's a dream come true. He said while interning as a chef, he was advised to do research on other chefs, so he looked through the James Beard list.
"At that time I went through all the nominees and I kind of researched their restaurants and their story. It's pretty humbling to be on that list now," said Komari.
"We're all super excited for Kris. He totally deserves this nod. Again like the tone that he sets for this kitchen, his strive for excellence, his push for creativity, yeah, he is incredible," said Kwak.