The James Beard Foundation, in preparation for its annual awards to chefs and restaurateurs as well as to food-related books, designers, journalism, broadcast media and leaders, last year amended its policies and procedures in an effort to be more inclusive and transparent both in who selected the winners and who those winners would be.
A shakeup among judges produced a 14% increase in people of color on the panels and a 5% increase in women, and the foundation issued a strong directive to existing judges to be more inclusive in their selections.
Preliminary results of those first steps came in with the announcement Wednesday of the long list of semifinalists in the organization’s prestigious Restaurant and Chef Awards.
The results are mixed.
While there’s a 7% increase in the representation of people of color on the list of 419 chefs, restaurants, restaurateurs and beverage professionals, the representation of women is down to 34% from 40% last year.
However, 2018 was a banner year for women in the Restaurant and Chef Awards: For the first time they won the majority of the awards. Additionally, four African-Americans won awards that year after none in the previous year.
The committees also did marginally better in bringing new faces to the long list.
Excluding the category of Best New Restaurant, which by definition requires that every semifinalist be new, 47% of people and restaurants on the list are returning from last year in the same category, down from 51% last year. That excludes chefs and restaurants that were nominated in a different category from last year, such as Missy Robbins of Lilia in Brooklyn, N.Y., who was a semifinalist for best chef in New York City. She won that award, and this year is a semifinalist in the national category of Outstanding Chef.
Below is a list of all the semifinalists, and a look at how they differ from last year’s group. Names in bold were semifinalists in the same category last year.
Voting is now underway by more than 600 judges, who will select five or six finalists in each category. Voting ends on March 11 and the results will be announced at Hugo’s restaurant in Houston on March 27 at 9 a.m. CDT.
Best New Restaurant
Two of the semifinalists in this category are from the Boston area, up from one last year. Chicago retained its two spots. Both Los Angeles and Washington slipped from three semifinalists to two. New Orleans went from one to two and New York City from two to three. San Francisco, which had no semifinalists last year — the closest being The Charter Oak in St. Helena, Calif. — has two semifinalists this year. Austin, Denver, Detroit, Nashville and Seattle each has one semifinalist this year, as they did from last year.
Adda Indian Canteen, New York City
Andiario, West Chester, Pa.
Angler, San Francisco
Atomix, New York City
Bardea Food & Drink, Wilmington, Del.
Bavel, Los Angeles
Bywater American Bistro, New Orleans
Canard, Portland, Ore
Celeste, Somerville, Mass.
Ellē, Washington, D.C.
The Elysian Bar, New Orleans
Frenchette, New York City
Larder Delicatessen and Bakery, Cleveland
Lineage, Wailea, Hawaii
Majordomo, Los Angeles
Nyum Bai, Oakland, Calif.
Petra and the Beast, Dallas
Popol Vuh, Minneapolis
Q House, Denver
Spoken English, Washington, D.C.
The Stanley, Charlotte, N.C.
The Surf Club Restaurant, Surfside, Fla.
Vianda, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Just nine of the 20 semifinalists are returning from last year. That’s compared to 14 returnees last year.
Umber Ahmad, Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery, New York City
Kim Boyce, Bakeshop, Portland, Ore.
Andy Clark, Moxie Bread Co., Louisville, Colo.
Evrim Dogu and Evin Dogu, Sub Rosa Bakery, Richmond, Va.
Tova du Plessis, Essen Bakery, Philadelphia
Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit, New York City
Don Guerra, Barrio Bread, Tucson, Ariz.
Naomi Harris, Madruga Bakery, Coral Gables, Fla.
Stephanie Hart, Brown Sugar Bakery, Chicago
Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery and Café, Cambridge, Mass.
Lisa Ludwinski, Sister Pie, Detroit
Greg Mindel, Neighbor Bakehouse, San Francisco
Taylor Petrehn, 1900 Barker, Lawrence, Kan.
Alison Pray, Standard Baking Co., Portland, Maine
Nathaniel Reid, Nathaniel Reid Bakery, Kirkwood, Mo.
Avery Ruzicka, Manresa Bread, Los Gatos, Calif.
Kit Schumann and Jesse Schumann, Sea Wolf Bakers, Seattle
Debbie Swenerton, Black Bear Bread Co., Grayton Beach, Fla.
Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread, Chicago
Chris Wilkins, Root Baking Co., Atlanta
Outstanding Bar Program
A lot of new names are on the list, with just seven returnees, compared to 12 last year.
Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston
The Atomic Lounge, Birmingham, Ala.
The Baldwin Bar, Woburn, Mass.
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge, Milwaukee
Clavel Mezcaleria, Baltimore
Columbia Room, Washington, D.C.
Dead Rabbit, New York City
Expatriate, Portland, Ore.
Kimball House, Decatur, Ga.
La Factoría, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Leyenda, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Lost Lake, Chicago
The Monarch Bar, Kansas City, Mo.
Monk’s Café, Philadelphia
No Anchor, Seattle
Old Lightning, Marina Del Rey, Calif.
Planter’s House, St. Louis
Saint Leo, Oxford, Miss.
At first glance, with just eight out of 20 semifinalists returning from last year, this looks like a shakeup in what is basically a lifetime achievement award. But most of these chefs have already won the award for best chef in their region and have just been promoted to this category, and several, such as Ana Sortun and Marc Vetri, have been semifinalists in this category many times; they just weren’t last year.
An exception is Chrysa Robertson of Rancho Pinot in Scottsdale, Ariz. Although she has achieved local acclaim, this is her first time as a James Beard Foundation semifinalist.
Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner, Raleigh, N.C.
Renee Erickson, Bateau, Seattle
Colby Garrelts, Bluestem, Kansas City, Mo.
Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde, Chicago
Shiro Kashiba, Sushi Kashiba, Seattle
David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, Calif.
Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, Calif.
Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans
Margot McCormack, Margot Café & Bar, Nashville
Tory Miller, L’Etoile, Madison, Wis.
Maricel Presilla, Cucharamama, Hoboken, N.J.
Missy Robbins, Lilia, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Chrysa Robertson, Rancho Pinot, Scottsdale, AZ
Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon, Portland, Ore.
Chris Shepherd, Georgia James, Houston
Ana Sortun, Oleana, Cambridge, Mass.
Vikram Sunderam, Rasika, Washington, D.C.
Fabio Trabocchi, Fiola, Washington, D.C.
Marc Vetri, Vetri Cucina, Philadelphia
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Eight out of the 20 nominees are returning from last year, although others have been semifinalists, and even finalists, in the past, including Juan Contrearas, Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Pichet Ong.
Jeb Breakell, The Wolf’s Tailor, Denver
Ashley Capps, Buxton Hall, Asheville, N.C.
Juan Contreras, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
Kelly Fields, Willa Jean, New Orleans
Meg Galus, Boka, Chicago
Megan Garrelts, Rye, Leawood, Kan.
Zoe Kanan, Simon & the Whale, New York City
Michelle Karr-Ueoka, MW Restaurant, Honolulu
Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles
James Matty, Suraya, Philadelphia
Junko Mine, Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, Wash.
Diane Moua, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis
Pichet Ong, Brothers and Sisters, Washington, D.C.
Natasha Pickowicz, Flora Bar, New York City
Michelle Polzine, 20th Century Café, San Francisco
Rabii Saber, Four Seasons Resort, Orlando, Fla,
Ricardo “Ricchi” Sanchez, Bullion, Dallas
Laura Sawicki, Launderette, Austin
Whang Suh, Hen & Heifer, Guilford, Conn.
Cynthia Wong, Life Raft Treats, Charleston, S.C.
Similar to the Outstanding Chef category, this is also sort of a lifetime achievement award, and it also has seen a shakeup from last year, with just six returnees, but Cafe Juanita, Fore Street, Nopa and Sagami all were semifinalists in this category in 2017, and others, such as Fig and Park’s Barbeque, have been nominated in other categories. Some of these are true newcomers and notably more casual than the fine-dining restaurants that normally dominate this category, including El Charro Café, the Original Ninfa’s and SriPraPhai. That could be a sign of a movement toward more inclusiveness in the Beard Awards.
Balthazar, New York City
Bolete, Bethlehem, Pa.
Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, Wash.
El Charro Café, Tucson, Ariz.
Fig, Charleston, S.C.
Fore Street, Portland, Maine
Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
Komi, Washington, D.C.
Marché, Eugene, Ore.
Nopa, San Francisco
Norman’s, Orlando, Fla.
North Pond, Chicago
O Ya, Boston
Original Ninfa's on Navigation, Houston
Park’s Barbeque, Los Angeles
Quince, San Francisco
Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis
Sagami, Collingswood, N.J.
SriPraPhai, Woodside, N.Y.
Eleven out of 20 are returnees, compared to 14 out of 20 last year. In the inclusiveness category would be Jason Wang of fast-casual Chinese chain Xi’an Famous Foods. Orlando operators, often overlooked in the Beard Awards, are represented by the Swine Family Restaurant Group.
Hugh Acheson, Atlanta
Paul Bartolotta and Joe Bartolotta, The Bartolotta Restaurants, Milwaukee
JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans
Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik, Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group, Pittsburgh
Benjamin Goldberg and Max Goldberg, Strategic Hospitality, Nashville
Ruth Gresser, Pizzeria Paradiso, Washington, D.C.
Martha Hoover, Patachou Inc., Indianapolis
Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm, Boka Restaurant Group, Chicago
Ed Kenney, Honolulu
Brenda Langton and Timothy Kane, Spoonriver, Minneapolis
Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz, San Francisco
Akkapong “Earl” Ninsom, Portland, Ore.
Ken Oringer, Boston
Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road, Charleston, S.C.
Julie Petrakis and James Petrakis, Swine Family Restaurant Group, Orlando, Fla.
Alex Raij and Eder Montero, New York City
Ethan Stowell, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Seattle
Tracy Vaught, H Town Restaurant Group, Houston
Jason Wang, Xi'an Famous Foods, New York City
Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group, Philadelphia
Eight out of 20 are returnees from last year, but several others have made it to this list in the past. Notable genuine newcomers include very casual and inexpensive Birrieria Zaragoza in Chicago and soul food restaurant Mama J’s in Richmond, Va.
Back Bay Grill, Portland, Maine
Birrieria Zaragoza, Chicago
Brigtsen’s, New Orleans
Chef Vola’s, Atlantic City, N.J.
Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colo.
The French Room, Dallas
Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, Chicago
Kai Restaurant, Chandler, Ariz.
Kimball House, Decatur, Ga.
Mama J’s, Richmond, Va.
Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier, Washington, D.C.
n/naka, Los Angeles
Peking Gourmet Inn, Falls Church, Va.
Saison, San Francisco
Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco
Victoria & Albert’s, Orlando, Fla.
Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI
Outstanding Wine Program
Similar to the Outstanding Service category, although just six out of these 20 were long-listed last year, many have been listed in this or other Beard Award categories in the past. However, this is the first time that haley.henry, Income Tax, L’Oursin, Ops or Tail Up Goat have been semifinalists in any category,
Bacchanal, New Orleans
The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
Bar Marco, Pittsburgh
Benu, San Francisco
The Butcher Shop, Boston
element 47 at the Little Nell, Aspen, Colo.
Great China, Berkeley, CA
Davenport, Portland, Ore.
Income Tax, Chicago
Lucky Palace, Bossier City, La.
Miller Union, Atlanta
Night + Market, Los Angeles
Ops, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse at the Galleria, Houston
Stems & Skins, North Charleston, S.C.
Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.
Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Producer
The name of this category has been changed slightly, from Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional, but there are actually more returnees this year than last year — 11 compared to eight. Yoshihiro Sako is the first sake brewer to be acknowledged in this category.
An Bui, Mekong and The Answer Brewpub, Richmond, Va.
Cathy Corison, Corison Winery, St. Helena, Calif.
Rutger de Vink, RdV Vineyards, Delaplane, Va.
Dave Green, Skagit Valley Malting, Burlington, Wash.
Deirdre Heekin, La Garagista, Bethel, Vt.
Nancy Irelan, Red Tail Ridge Winery, Penn Yan, N.Y.
Drew Kulsveen, Willett Distillery, Bardstown, Ky.
Todd Leopold and Scott Leopold, Leopold Bros., Denver
Sean Lilly Wilson, Fullsteam Brewery, Durham, N.C.
Ann Marshall and Scott Blackwell, High Wire Distilling Co., Charleston, S.C.
Steve Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wines, Napa, Calif.
Kim McPherson, McPherson Cellars, Lubbock, Texas
Meredith Meyer Grelli, Wigle Whiskey, Pittsburgh
Yoshihiro Sako, Den Sake Brewery, Oakland, Calif.
Jordan Salcito, Ramona, New York City
Mike Sauer, Red Willow Vineyard, Wapato, Wash.
Jeffrey Stuffings, Jester King Brewery, Austin
Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, Maine
Mhairi Voelsgen, broVo Spirits, Woodinville, Wash.
Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda, Calif.
Rising Star Chef of the Year
This category has natural churn, as winners have to be aged 30 or younger. Still, just seven of the 23 semifinalists are returning from last year, compared to 15 out of 27 last year. The rest have never before been acknowledged by the Beard Awards committees.
Rachel Bennett, The Library, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Jay Blackinton, Aelder/Hogstone’s Wood Oven, Orcas Island, Wash.
Nick Bognar, Nippon Tei, St. Louis
Ana Castro, Coquette, New Orleans
Valerie Chang and Nando Chang, Itamae, Miami
Calvin Davis, Freshwater, Kansas City, Mo.
Alisha Elenz, MFK, Chicago
Evan Gaudreau, Renzo, Charleston, S.C.
Rikki Giambruno, Hyacinth, St. Paul, Minn.
Becca Hegarty, Bitter Ends Luncheonette, Pittsburgh
Alexander Hong, Sorrel, San Francisco
Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya, Philadelphia
Irene Li, Mei Mei, Boston
Giselle Miller, Menton, Boston
Shota Nakajima, Adana, Seattle
Kwame Onwuachi, Kith and Kin, Washington, D.C.
Ian Redshaw, Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria, Charlottesville, Va.
Jonathan “Jonny” Rhodes, Restaurant Indigo, Houston
Samantha Sanz, Talavera at the Four Seasons, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Lena Sareini, Selden Standard, Detroit
Cassie Shortino, Tratto, Phoenix
Nolan Wynn, Banshee, Atlanta
Jonathan Yao, Kato, Los Angeles
Best Chef: Great Lakes (Ill., Ind., Mich. and Ohio)
Detroit is the big story here. That metropolitan area went from two semifinalists last year to five this year. Chicago still dominated with 11 chefs, down from 13.
Thai Dang and Danielle Dang, HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen, Chicago
Diana Dávila, Mi Tocaya Antojería, Chicago
Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chicago
Norberto Garita, El Barzon, Detroit
Jason Hammel, Lula Café, Chicago
Brian Jupiter, Frontier, Chicago
Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute, Chicago
Anthony Lombardo, SheWolf, Detroit
Abbi Merriss, Bluebeard, Indianapolis
Ethan Pikas, Cellar Door Provisions, Chicago
David Posey and Anna Posey, Elske, Chicago
Iliana Regan, Kitsune, Chicago
James Rigato, Mabel Gray, Hazel Park, Mich.
Jose Salazar, Mita’s, Cincinnati
Noah Sandoval, Oriole, Chicago
Steven Oakley, Oakleys Bistro, Indianapolis
Genevieve Vang, Bangkok 96, Dearborn, Mich.
Jill Vedaa, Salt, Lakewood, Ohio
Kate Williams, Lady of the House, Detroit
Lee Wolen, Boka, Chicago
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (Del., Md., N.J., Pa., Va. and Washington, D.C.)
The Mid-Atlanta had 10 newcomers to the list this year. The District of Columbia continued to dominate with eight semifinalists this year, up from seven in 2018.
Joey Baldino, Zeppoli, Collingswood, N.J.
Sandeep “Sunny” Baweja, Lehja, Richmond, Va.
Jamilka Borges, The Independent Brewing Co., Pittsburgh
Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C.
Erik Bruner-Yang, Brothers and Sisters, Washington, D.C.
Kristin Butterworth, Lautrec, Farmington, Pa.
Tom Cunanan, Bad Saint, Washington, D.C.
Nicholas Elmi, Laurel, Philadelphia
Randy Forrester, Osteria Radici, Allentown, N.J.
Jerome Grant, Sweet Home Café, Washington, D.C.
Haidar Karoum, Chloë, Washington, D.C.
Matthew Kern, Heirloom, Lewes, DE
Rich Landau, Vedge, Philadelphia
Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa, Philadelphia
Dan Richer, Razza Pizza Artigianale, Jersey City, N.J.
Jon Sybert, Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.
Kevin Tien, Himitsu, Washington, D.C.
Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore
Nobu Yamazaki, Sushi Taro, Washington, D.C.
Wei Zhu, Chengdu Gourmet, Pittsburgh
Best Chef: Midwest (Iowa, Kan., Minn., Mo., Neb., N.D., S.D. and Wis.)
Nine out of 20 semifinalists are returning from last year, the same number as in 2018. Minneapolis picked up another spot, with seven chefs on the list. Kansas City jumped from one to three, tying it with Milwaukee. St. Louis retained four spots and Omaha, Neb., has a newcomer: Tim Nicholson of The Boiler Room, who was a semifinalist for Rising Star in 2017 and 2018.
Dane Baldwin, The Diplomat, Milwaukee
Karen Bell, Bavette La Boucherie, Milwaukee
Thomas Boemer, In Bloom, Minneapolis
Steven Brown, Tilia, Minneapolis
Michael Corvino, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, Kansas City, Mo.
Daniel del Prado, Martina, Minneapolis
Linda Duerr, The Restaurant at 1900, Mission Woods, Kan.
Michael Gallina, Vicia, St. Louis
Nicholas Goellner, The Antler Room, Kansas City, Mo.
Jonny Hunter, Forequarter, Madison, Wis.
Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, EsterEv, Milwaukee
Ann Kim, Young Joni, Minneapolis
Lona Luo, Lona’s Lil Eats, St. Louis
Jamie Malone, Grand Café, Minneapolis
Jesse Mendica, Olive + Oak, Webster Groves, Mo.
Tim Nicholson, The Boiler Room, Omaha, Neb.
Christina Nguyen, Hai Hai, Minneapolis
Karyn Tomlinson, Corner Table, Minneapolis
Joe Tripp, Harbinger, Des Moines, Iowa
Ny Vongsaly, Billie-Jean, Clayton, Mo.
Best Chef: New York (Five Boroughs)
With 11 out of 20 restaurants being newcomers, the borough breakdown remains the same, with 14 from Manhattan, five from Brooklyn and one from Queens. The awards committee continues to expand its appreciation for Asian cuisines with newcomer Insa serving Korean barbecue, Win Son specializing in Taiwanese food and Kopitiam offering Malaysian.
Cosme Aguilar, Casa Enrique
Emma Bengtsson, Aquavit
Rawia Bishara, Tanoreen, Brooklyn
Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy
Billy Durney, Hometown Bar-B-Que, Brooklyn
Sean Gray, Momofuku Ko
Brooks Headley, Superiority Burger
Joseph “JJ” Johnson, Henry at Life Hotel
Sohui Kim, Insa, Brooklyn
Josh Ku and Trigg Brown, Win Son, Brooklyn
Angie Mar, Beatrice Inn
Kyo Pang, Kopitiam
Erik Ramirez, Llama Inn, Brooklyn
Ann Redding and Matt Danzer, Uncle Boons
Daniela Soto-Innes, Atla
Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske, Wildair
Alex Stupak, Empellón Midtown
Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito, Don Angie
Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, Via Carota
Helen You, Dumpling Galaxy, Flushing, N.Y.
Best Chef: Northeast (Conn., Mass., Maine, New York state, R.I. and Vt.)
With just one large city in the region, you’d think Boston would dominate this list, but just six out of 20 chefs are located in that metropolitan area. Portland, Maine., jumped from two to three semifinalists; Providence, R.I., retained its two; and two chefs from Portsmouth, N.H., made the list, too. The committee also didn’t ignore Maine’s mid-coast.
Unmi Abkin, Coco & The Cellar Bar, Easthampton, Mass.
Tyler Anderson, Millwright's, Simsbury, Conn.
Hannah Black and Carla Perez-Gallardo, Lil' Deb's Oasis, Hudson, N.Y.
Cara Chigazola-Tobin, Honey Road, Burlington, Vt.
Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell, Palace Diner, Biddeford, Maine
Krista Kern Desjarlais, The Purple House, North Yarmouth, Maine
Vien Dobui, Cong Tu Bot, Portland, Maine
Carl Dooley, The Table at Season to Taste, Cambridge, Mass.
Tiffani Faison, Tiger Mama, Boston
Erin French, The Lost Kitchen, Freedom, Maine
Victor Parra Gonzalez, Las Puertas, Buffalo, N.Y.
Seizi Imura, Cafe Sushi, Cambridge, Mass.
Evan Mallett, Black Trumpet, Portsmouth, N.H.
James Mark, North, Providence, R.I.
Tony Messina, Uni, Boston
Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, Mass.
Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki's Sushi Bar, Rockland, Maine
Benjamin Sukle, Oberlin, Providence, R.I.
Peter Ungár, Tasting Counter, Somerville, Mass.
David Vargas, Vida Cantina, Portsmouth, N.H.
Best Chef: Northwest (Alaska, Idaho, Mont., Ore., Wash. and Wyo.)
With 11 newcomers, this area is dominated by Portland, Ore., with eight nominees and Seattle with seven. That evens the scales a bit from last year, when Seattle had six and Portland had nine. Brady Williams of Canlis, who is a newcomer in this category, won the Rising Star award in 2017.
Jose Chesa, Ataula, Portland, Ore.
Peter Cho, Han Oak, Portland, Ore.
Laura Cole, 229 Parks Restaurant & Tavern, Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Logan Cox, Homer, Seattle
Alejandro Cruz, Novo Modern Latin Table, Eugene, Ore.
Eric Donnelly, RockCreek, Seattle
Gregory Gourdet, Departure, Portland, Ore.
Eric Johnson, Stateside, Seattle
Taichi Kitamura, Sushi Kappo Tamura, Seattle
Ha (Christina) Luu and Peter Vuong, Ha VL, Portland, Ore.
Katy Millard, Coquine, Portland, Ore.
Kristen Murray, Måurice, Portland, Ore.
Colin Patterson, Mana Restaurant, Leavenworth, Wash.
Ryan Roadhouse, Nodoguro, Portland, Ore.
Beau Schooler, In Bocca Al Lupo, Juneau, Alaska
Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi, Seattle
Dave Wells, The Dining Room at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Mont.
Brady Williams, Canlis, Seattle
Justin Woodward, Castagna, Portland, Ore.
Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle
Best Chef: South (Ala., Ark., Fla., La., Miss. and Puerto Rico)
With 14 out of 20 chefs returning, New Orleans lost a couple of spots, down to five from seven, with some newcomers from smaller communities like Jackson, Miss., and Ocean Springs, Miss.
Lindsay Autry, The Regional Kitchen & Public House, West Palm Beach, Fla.
David Bancroft, Acre, Auburn, Ala.
Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar, Oxford, Miss.
Bill Briand, Fisher’s Upstairs at Orange Beach Marina, Orange Beach, Ala.
Clay Conley, Buccan, Palm Beach, Fla
Alex Eaton, The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen, Jackson, Miss.
Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans
Maria Mercedes Grubb, Gallo Negro, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Michael Gulotta, Maypop, New Orleans
Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf, New Orleans
Timothy Hontzas, Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, Ala.
Brad Kilgore, Alter, Miami
Niven Patel, Ghee Indian Kitchen, Miami
Matthew McClure, The Hive, Bentonville, Ark.
Alex Perry, Vestige, Ocean Springs, Miss.
Jeannie Pierola, Edison: Food+Drink Lab, Tampa, Fla.
Slade Rushing, Brennan’s, New Orleans
Melissa Donahue-Talmage, Sweet Melissa’s Café, Sanibel, Fla.
Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery, New Orleans
Best Chef: Southeast (Ga., Ky., N.C., S.C., Tenn. and W.Va.)
With 10 newcomers in this region, the breakdown remains the same with a lot of chefs coming from smaller communities or lesser-represented cities such as Chattanooga, Tenn., and Greenville, S.C.
Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah, Ga.
Rebecca Barron, St. John’s Restaurant, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Jon Buck, Husk Greenville, Greenville, S.C.
Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, N.C.
Gregory Collier, Loft & Cellar, Charlotte, N.C.
Cassidee Dabney, The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.
Steven Devereaux Greene, Herons, Cary, N.C.
Oscar Diaz, The Cortez, Raleigh, N.C.
Bryan Furman, B’s Cracklin’ BBQ, Atlanta
Josh Habiger, Bastion, Nashville
Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani, Asheville, N.C.
Kevin Johnson, The Grocery, Charleston, S.C.
Joe Kindred, Kindred, Davidson, N.C.
Cheetie Kumar, Garland, Raleigh, N.C.
Jacques Larson, The Obstinate Daughter, Sullivan’s Island, S.C.
Dean Neff, PinPoint, Wilmington, N.C.
Ryan Smith, Staplehouse, Atlanta
Brian So, Spring, Marietta, Ga.
Julia Sullivan, Henrietta Red, Nashville
Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis
Best Chef, Southwest (Ariz., Colo., N.M., Okla., Texas and Utah)
With 11 out of 20 chefs returning this year, Austin picked up two new spots, giving it a total of five. Followed by Phoenix/Scottsdale with four and Houston down to three from five last year. Denver has two semifinalists, down from three last year, and Dallas also has two, up from one.
Charleen Badman, FnB, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Kevin Binkley, Binkley’s Restaurant, Phoenix
Jen Castle and Blake Spalding, Hell's Backbone Grill, Boulder, Utah
Bruno Davaillon, Bullion, Dallas
Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo, Austin
Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye, Austin
Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie, Austin
Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Austin
Caroline Glover, Annette, Aurora, Colo.
Nadia Holguin, Roland’s Cafe Market Bar, Phoenix
Ronnie Killen, Killen’s Steakhouse, Pearland, Texas
Kaiser Lashkari, Himalaya, Houston
Steve McHugh, Cured, San Antonio
Trong Nguyen, Crawfish & Noodles, Houston
Jonathan Perno, Campo at Los Poblanos, Albuquerque, N.M.
Maribel Rivero, Yuyo, Austin
Regino Rojas, Purépecha Room by Revolver Taco Lounge, Dallas
Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café Gran Reserva, Phoenix
David Uygur, Lucia, Dallas
Kelly Whitaker, The Wolf’s Tailor, Denver
Best Chef: West (Calif., Hawaii and Nev.)
The rivalry between the Bay Area and Los Angeles plays out annually in this category, and this year they split positions evenly with seven apiece (last year L.A. had eight and the San Francisco area had seven). San Diego had zero nominations last year, but Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins of El Jardin in that city has put an end to that.
Genet Agonafer, Meals by Genet, Los Angeles
Reem Assil, Reem’s California, Oakland, Calif.
Gabriela Cámara, Cala, San Francisco
Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Jeremy Fox, Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica, Calif.
Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush, Senia, Honolulu
Matthew Kammerer, Harbor House Inn, Elk, Calif.
Jessica Koslow, Sqirl, Los Angeles
Brandon Rodgers and Ian Scaramuzza, In Situ, San Francisco
Travis Lett, Gjelina, Venice, Calif.
Niki Nakayama, n/naka, Los Angeles
Dominica Rice-Cisneros, Cosecha Café, Oakland, Calif.
Carlos Salgado, Taco María, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Joshua Skenes, Saison, San Francisco
Sheridan Su, Flock and Fowl, Las Vegas
James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland, Calif.
Karen Taylor, El Molino Central, Sonoma, Calif.
Pim Techamuanvivit, Kin Khao, San Francisco
Kris Yenbamroong, Night + Market, Los Angeles
Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins, El Jardín, San Diego
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]
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