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Justin Aprahamian  

James Beard Award-Winning Executive Chef at Sanford Restaurant

Justin Aprahamian entered the culinary world at the age of 12 helping out with his uncle’s catering company. What started as small family favors ended up being the beginning of Justin’s intrigue to the culinary field. At the age of 16 Justin applied for work at the chef owned and operated, Steven Wades Café. Wanting to learn all aspects of a kitchen he accepted a job as dishwasher and worked his way up to garde manger. During his time at Wades, Justin graduated high school and immediately enrolled in the culinary program at Waukesha County Technical College.

At the age of 18 Justin’s eagerness and determination earned him an associate’s degree in May of 2002. At this time he joined the kitchen staff at Sanford Restaurant, then owned by renowned Chef Sanford D’Amato and his wife Angie. Hired as a prep cook, his drive and passion helped him to move up the line and by 2005 was promoted to Sous Chef.

After working closely with Sandy on recipe and menu development as well as the daily function, he was named Chef de Cuisine in 2008. In 2010 and 2011 Justin was honored as a semifinalist for Rising Star Chef from the James Beard Foundation. In 2011, '12 and ’13 he received nominations for Best Chef Midwest. He finally won in 2014.

In December of 2012 Justin purchased Sanford Restaurant from his mentors and is excited to keep the traditions alive and continue to evolve over the coming years.


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Justin Aprahamian of Sanford wins James Beard Award - Milwaukee ...

The third time was the charm for Sanford Restaurant chef-owner Justin Aprahamian as he won the James Beard Award for Best Chef-Midwest Monday night.

New owner Justin Aprahamian keeps Sanford restaurant sublime

New owner Justin Aprahamian keeps aspects that have always made Sanford's special, but he's taken steps to make this restaurant his own.

Sanford's Aprahamian named James Beard finalist for third time in ...

Justin Aprahamian bought Sanford from founder Sandy D'Amato in late 2012. ... Aprahamian was the only Wisconsin chef to be nominated as a finalist this year.

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