Chef Haidar Karoum of Estadio - Biography

Washington, D.C.

December 2014

A tireless student of flavor, Haidar Karoum attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York, completing an extended externship at Michel Richard at Citronelle in Washington, D.C. before graduating with an Associate’s Degree in 1995. After serving as a line cook at Gerard’s Place, also in the District, Karoum returned to the CIA to pursue a Degree in culinary management.

In 1998, Karoum came back to D.C. (his hometown) to join Restaurant Nora as Sous Chef for restaurateur Nora Poullion. A pioneer in local sourcing, Poullion’s dedication to seasonal and organic produce was inspirational to Karoum, and he began developing strong personal relationships with farmers in the Mid-Atlantic region. After a two-year stint at Restaurant Nora, Karoum was asked to head the kitchen at sister restaurant, Asia Nora. As Executive Chef, Karoum immersed himself in Eastern flavor profiles, learning to meld Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, and Japanese influences into his seasonal, organic menu.

In January 2007, Karoum left Asia Nora to become Executive Chef of Proof, bringing with him not only a varied palate but that passion for locally grown and organically raised produce (meaning there’s enough vibrancy to compliment the 1,200-plus wine list, and to earn Karoum 2009 James Beard semi-finalist standing for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic). Next, in July 2010, came Estadio, where Executive Chef Karoum put his hand to interpretations of classic Spanish dishes, earning multi-star reviews as well as semi-finalist status for the James Beard “Best New Restaurant” award. (The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington awarded Estadio “Best New Restaurant of the Year” in 2011, with Karoum nominated multiple times for “Chef of the Year.”) And at the recently opened Doi Moi (where he’s co-owner, as with Proof and Estadio), Karoum brings Asian flavors to the fore.