2018 RISING STAR WINNER:

CHEF AJ
RICHARDS

Executive Chef & Owner: [forged]

Chef Richards is the first Rising Star to ever recieve a perfect score.



Chef Andrew “AJ” Richards is a transplant from Syracuse. He has had no “formal” culinary training in the beginning of his career and likes to tell people that he learned from the school of hard knocks. Chef Richards pursued his education later in his career. Chef started out as a dishwasher and worked his way through the ranks. Today, he is the executive chef of his own restaurant, [forged] situated in a repurposed 1873 Historic Courthouse.

Chef Richards is a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation, as well as holds the treasury position for them. He recently returned home from Chicago after working under 3 Michelin Star Chef, Grant Achatz, at Alinea. Chef Richards is a professional member of the Albany Chaine des Rôtisseurs, as well as a Mondiale du Vin Member. He believes that in order to keep living you must keep learning. He is currently pursuing his aspirations to be a sommelier and has completed level one through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Chef Richards is also a level one cicerone.

Chef Richards believes that good food is a fundamental human right and constantly works to push himself and his team to the edge. He likes to work with the local Head Start Programs to educate the parents about healthy good food, and teaches them that preparing fresh food doesn’t need to be intimating and providing a healthy meal to your family is attainable. Chef Richards donates his time to cook for charity dinners, community cooking events, as well as taking time to work with local food service providers about food safety and allergy awareness. He and his team work closely with their local farmers and CSA’s to gain access to the freshest, local ingredients whenever possible.

Chef Richards accepts the challenge of creating inspiring and innovated dishes while sourcing ingredients as locally as possible. He encourages everyone to know your farmer. Know your chef.

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