These Are the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award Finalists, 2024

Photograph By Eliesa Johnson

The James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for this year’s Restaurant and Chef awards during a live ceremony in Washington, DC, on April 3. Nominations went to the Senegalese tasting menu spot Dakar NOLA for Best New Restaurant along with Gregory Gourdet of Portland Haitian restaurant Kann for Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific—both appeared on Bon Appétit’s list of the Best New Restaurants of 2023.

This list was whittled down from the foundation’s semifinalists, announced on January 24. Though the foundation has faced its fair share of controversy and criticism over the past several years, its awards are still considered one of the top honors in the food world. Winning a James Beard Award can transform a chef’s career.

Chef Sujan Sarkar of Chicago’s Indienne was nominated for Best Chef: Great Lakes. Indienne also appeared on Bon Appétit’s list of the Best New Restaurants of 2023. Bon Appétit favorites Jeremy Salamon of the buzzy Eastern European restaurant Agi’s Counter in Brooklyn, and Jake Stevens of Maine pasta favorite Leeward, received nominations for Best Chef in New York State and the Northeast, respectively. Gusto Bread, in Long Beach, California, one of the most exciting bakeries in the country, also received a nomination for Outstanding Bakery.

This year, the James Beard Foundation introduced new categories for its “Leadership” awards—aimed at honoring people advancing issues central to the foundation’s policy agenda; equity, sustainability, and industry culture and practices. Unlike the Restaurant and Chef awards, the honorees for the Leadership awards were announced today. Among the awardees was the California farmer Mai Nguyen, recognized for their work making farming more diverse and sustainable. This year's Lifetime Achievement award recognized the prolific author, magazine editor, and former restaurant critic Ruth Reichl.

Read the full list of finalists, and check back on June 10th for the list of winners.

Best New Restaurant

  • Bar Bacetto, Waitsburg, WA

  • Barbs-B-Q, Lockhart, TX

  • Chez Noir, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

  • Comfort Kitchen, Dorchester, MA

  • Dakar NOLA, New Orleans, LA

  • Hayward, McMinnville, OR

  • Kaya, Orlando, FL

  • Kisser, Nashville, TN

  • Oro by Nixta, Minneapolis, MN

  • Shan, Bozeman, MT

Emerging Chef

  • Fariyal Abdullahi, Hav & Mar, New York, NY

  • Janet Becerra, Pancita, Seattle, WA

  • Nikko Cagalanan, Kultura, Charleston, SC

  • Ryan Fernandez, Southern Junction, Buffalo, NY

  • Masako Morishita, Perry’s, Washington, DC

Outstanding Hospitality

  • Crawford and Son, Raleigh, NC

  • Gemma, Dallas, TX

  • Lula Cafe, Chicago, IL

  • Melba’s, New York, NY

  • Woodford Food & Beverage, Portland, ME

Outstanding Wine and Beverage Program

  • Lula Drake Wine Parlour, Columbia, SC

  • The Morris, San Francisco, CA

  • Strong Water Anaheim, Anaheim, CA

  • Tail Up Goat, Washington, DC

  • Waxlight Bar à Vin, Buffalo, NY

Outstanding Bar

  • Barr Hill Cocktail Bar, Montpelier, VT

  • Clavel Mezcaleria, Baltimore, MD

  • Jewel of the South, New Orleans, LA

  • Las Ramblas, Brownsville, TX

  • Pacific Cocktail Haven, San Francisco, CA

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

  • Susan Bae, Moon Rabbit, Washington, DC

  • Jesus Brazon and Manuel Brazon, Caracas Bakery, Doral and Miami, FL

  • Atsuko Fujimoto, Norimoto Bakery, Portland, ME

  • Crystal Kass, Valentine, Phoenix, AZ

  • Anna Posey, Elske, Chicago, IL

Outstanding Bakery

  • The Burque Bakehouse, Albuquerque, NM

  • Gusto Bread, Long Beach, CA

  • JinJu Patisserie, Portland, OR

  • Mel the Bakery, Hudson, NY

  • ZU Bakery, Portland, ME

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • Mamba Hamissi and Nadia Nijimbere, Baobab Fare, Detroit, MI

  • Quynh-Vy and Yenvy Pham, Phở Bắc Súp Shop, Phởcific Standard Time, and The Boat, Seattle, WA

  • Chris Viaud, Greenleaf, Ansanm, and Pavilion, Milford and Wolfeboro, NH

  • Hollis Wells Silverman, Eastern Point Collective (The Duck & The Peach, La Collina, The Wells, and others), Washington, DC

  • Erika Whitaker and Kelly Whitaker, ID EST (The Wolf’s Tailor, BRUTØ, Basta, and others), Boulder, CO

Best Chef: Great Lakes

  • Vinnie Cimino, Cordelia, Cleveland, OH

  • Jose Salazar, Mita’s, Cincinnati, OH

  • Sujan Sarkar, Indienne, Chicago, IL

  • Hajime Sato, Sozai, Clawson, MI

  • Jenner Tomaska, Esmé, Chicago, IL

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

  • Tony Conte, Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, Darnestown, MD

  • Jesse Ito, Royal Sushi & Izakaya, Philadelphia, PA

  • Matt Kern, One Coastal, Fenwick Island, DE

  • Harley Peet, Bas Rouge, Easton, MD

  • Kevin Tien, Moon Rabbit, Washington, DC

Best Chef: Midwest

  • Ann Ahmed, Khâluna, Minneapolis, MN

  • Rob Connoley, Bulrush, St. Louis, MO

  • Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, EsterEv, Milwaukee, WI

  • Christina Nguyen, Hai Hai, Minneapolis, MN

  • Tim Nicholson, The Boiler Room, Omaha, NE

Best Chef: Mountains

  • Brandon Cunningham, Social Haus, Greenough, MT

  • Ali Sabbah, Mazza Cafe, Salt Lake City, UT

  • Matt Vawter, Rootstalk, Breckenridge, CO

  • Penelope Wong, Yuan Wonton, Denver, CO

  • Nick Zocco, Urban Hill, Salt Lake City, UT

Best Chef: New York State

  • Nasim Alikhani, Sofreh, Brooklyn, NY

  • Atsushi Kono, Kono, New York, NY

  • Chris Mauricio, Harana Market, Accord, NY

  • Charlie Mitchell, Clover Hill, Brooklyn, NY

  • Jeremy Salamon, Agi’s Counter, Brooklyn, NY

Best Chef: Northeast

  • Conor Dennehy, Talulla, Cambridge, MA

  • Maria Meza, Dolores, Providence, RI

  • David Standridge, The Shipwright’s Daughter, Mystic, CT

  • Jake Stevens, Leeward, Portland, ME

  • Cara Tobin, Honey Road, Burlington, VT

Best Chef: Northwest & Pacific

  • Avery Adams, Matia Kitchen, Orcas Island, WA

  • Kristi Brown, Communion, Seattle, WA

  • Josh Dorcak, MÄS, Ashland, OR

  • Gregory Gourdet, Kann, Portland, OR

  • Melissa Miranda, Musang, Seattle, WA

Best Chef: Southeast

  • Jamie Davis, The Hackney, Washington, NC

  • Rod Lassiter and Parnass Savang, Talat Market, Atlanta, GA

  • James London, Chubby Fish, Charleston, SC

  • Robbie Robinson, City Limits Barbeque, West Columbia, SC

  • Paul Smith, 1010 Bridge, Charleston, WV

Best Chef: South

  • Valerie Chang, Maty’s, Miami, FL

  • Hunter Evans, Elvie’s, Jackson, MS

  • Gabriel Hernandez, Verde Mesa, San Juan, PR

  • Carlos Portela, Orujo, San Juan, PR

  • Arvinder Vilkhu, Saffron, New Orleans, LA

Best Chef: Southwest

  • Rene Andrade, Bacanora, Phoenix, AZ

  • Jeff Chanchaleune, Ma Der Lao Kitchen, Oklahoma City, OK

  • Steve Kestler, Aroma Latin American Cocina, Henderson, NV

  • Steve Riley, Mesa Provisions, Albuquerque, NM

  • Eduardo Rodriguez, Zacatlán, Santa Fe, NM

Best Chef: Texas

  • Emmanuel Chavez, Tatemó, Houston, TX

  • Christopher Cullum, Cullum’s Attaboy, San Antonio, TX

  • Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel, Birdie’s, Austin, TX

  • Misti Norris, Petra & the Beast, Dallas, TX

  • Ana Liz Pulido, Ana Liz Taqueria, Mission, TX

Best Chef: California

  • Geoff Davis, Burdell, Oakland, CA

  • Rogelio Garcia, Auro, Calistoga, CA

  • Lord Maynard Llera, Kuya Lord, Los Angeles, CA

  • Tara Monsod, Animae, San Diego, CA

  • Buu “Billy” Ngo, Kru, Sacramento, CA

Outstanding Restaurant

  • The Compound, Santa Fe, NM

  • Convenience West, Marfa, TX

  • Langbaan, Portland, OR

  • Mixtli, San Antonio, TX

  • Vestige, Ocean Springs, MS

Outstanding Chef

  • Sarah Minnick, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, Portland, OR

  • Dean Neff, Seabird, Wilmington, NC

  • Michael Rafidi, Albi, Washington, DC

  • Renee Touponce, The Port of Call, Mystic, CT

  • David Uygur, Lucia, Dallas, TX

Leadership Awards

  • Mai Nguyen (Sustainability)

  • Niaz Dorry (Policy Advocacy)

  • Muhammad Abdul-Hadi (Industry Culture and Practices)

  • Helga Garcia-Garza (Food Security and Access)

  • Christa Barfield (Emerging Leadership)

  • Ruth Reichl (Lifetime Achievement Award)

  • The LEE Initiative (Humanitarian of the Year)

Correction, 4/3/2024: A previous version of this story misidentified Seabird in Wilmington, NC.

Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit


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