Sioux Falls Shines on the National Stage

(Header photo credit: Food Network)

It’s not often that there are multiple people with Sioux Falls ties appearing on the national stage in the span of several weeks. But that has been the case as of late with three local chefs and several current players on the Miami HEAT.

Sanaa Abourezk of Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean was named as one of several semifinalists for Best Chef: Midwest by the James Beard Foundation. Sanaa was in Chicago recently to attend the awards ceremony along with some of the top chefs around the country.

This isn’t the first time Abourezk has been in the spotlight, however. In 2016, Sanaa was invited by Food Network to participate in the series Beat Bobby Flay, where she went head-to-head with the famed chef.

Chefs Beau Vondra of Look’s Marketplace and Ryan Pederson of Urban Chislic were two of four participants on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, which aired on June 7. The four chefs were challenged with selecting a limited number of groceries and then preparing the best meal with what they had. Vondra finished in first place and took home nearly $18,000, which he plans to donate a portion to the Sioux Falls Skatepark Association.

Like Sanaa, this also isn’t the first time for both Vondra and Pederson appearing on Food Network. Guy Fieri brought his Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to Sioux Falls in 2020 and made several stops including Look’s Marketplace and Urban Chislic, where both chefs prepared a signature dish. For Guy to invite them both to participate in his other hit series, they clearly left a good impression on him during his visit to Sioux Falls.

In the sports world, NBA fans recently saw the Denver Nuggets defeat the Miami HEAT in the NBA Finals, capturing its first title in franchise history.

There were a few key contributors on the HEAT that have spent time playing for its G League affiliate, Sioux Falls Skyforce, including Duncan Robinson and Gabe Vincent. The University of Michigan product, Robinson, has been making a name for himself as a threat from deep, and he recently became the HEAT’s all-time leader in playoff threes, passing LeBron James.

After going undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, Robinson signed a two-way contract with the Miami HEAT and Sioux Falls Skyforce. He spent the 2018-19 season in Sioux Falls, where he broke two Skyforce franchise records: single-season 3-point shots made and career 3-point shot percentage, which is an NBA G League all-time record.

After signing a two-way contract with the Miami HEAT, Gabe Vincent spent a portion of the 2019-20 season in Sioux Falls with the Skyforce where he averaged over 16 points per game. Vincent posted a career-high 29 points in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, and then later followed that up with a team-high 23 points to help defeat the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

While Sioux Falls is no stranger to being mentioned on the national stage, it’s hard to find another community that supports and uplifts the presence of those in the limelight more than this city.

What else is happening?

Now that you're caught up on what's going on nationally as it relates to Sioux Falls, see what's new in the city and what to expect in the near future.

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