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James Beard Foundation names Clare Reichenbach CEO

Record number of women nominated for Beard Awards

Winners to be named May 7 in Chicago

Most of the nominees for the 2018 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards, which were announced Wednesday, are returning from last year. But there were shakeups in some categories, and a lot more women were nominated. 

The awards honor culinary and operational excellence in foodservice in national categories such as Outstanding Bar Program and Outstanding Restaurateur, as well as 10 regional categories for Best Chef. Once a restaurant, bar, chef or beverage professional win in a particular category they are ineligible in that category for a number of years, and all five nominees in the Best New Restaurant category are new. Nonetheless, 56 out of the 108 nominees also were nominated last year.

Of those, 82 are people (the rest are restaurants or bars) and of those 82 people, 39 were women, including all the nominees for Outstanding Pastry Chef, who were all women last year, too, and three out of five nominees for Outstanding Restaurateur: JoAnn Clevenger of Upperline in New Orleans, Caroline Styne of The Lucques Group in Los Angeles, both of whom were also nominated last year, and Ellen Yin of High Street Hospitality Group in Philadelphia.

Last year, 26 women were nominated. 

Among other shakeups, just one nominee in the Outstanding Service category, Zahav in Philadelphia, is back on the list from last year. Three of the five nominees for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional are new — Cathy Corison of Corison Winery in St. Helena, Calif.; Steve Matthiasson of Matthiasson Wines in Napa, Calif., and Lance Winters of St. George Spirits in Alameda, Calif. — giving California four out of five nominees in that category. Returning nominee Miljenko Grgich of Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford, Calif., was the only Californian in the category last year.

The Rising Star Chef category, which goes to a promising chef aged 30 or younger, also saw a shakeup, with only Camille Cogswell of Zahav returning. 

Four of five nominees for best chef in the Southeast (which includes Ga., Ky., the Carolinas, Tenn., and W.Va.) are new, with just Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in Memphis returning. The other nominees are from Savannah, Ga., Asheville, N.C., Walland, Tenn., and Charleston, S.C., leaving perennial favorite Atlanta out of the running this year.

The full list of nominees can be found bellow. Those in boldface were not nominated in those categories last year.

Nominees were selected from a list of semifinalists by more than 600 judges comprised of food and beverage writers and past winners. Those same judges will vote on these nominees and the winners will be announced at a gala celebration May 7 at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Best New Restaurant

The Charter Oak, St. Helena, Calif.

Empellón Midtown, New York City

Felix Trattoria, Venice, Calif.

JuneBaby, Seattle

Kismet, Los Angeles


Outstanding Baker

Dianna Daoheung, Black Seed Bagels, New York City

Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery and Café, Cambridge, MA

Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie, San Francisco

Alison Pray, Standard Baking Co., Portland, ME

Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread, Chicago


Outstanding Bar Program

Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston

Bar Agricole, San Francisco

Clyde Common, Portland, Ore.

Cure, New Orleans

Kimball House, Decatur, Ga.

Trick Dog, San Francisco


Outstanding Chef

Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner, Raleigh, N.C.

Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune, New York City

David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, Calf.

Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, Calif.

Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans


Outstanding Pastry Chef

Kelly Fields, Willa Jean, New Orleans

Meg Galus, Boka, Chicago

Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles

Dolester Miles, Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Ala.

Diane Yang, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis


Outstanding Restaurant

Balthazar, New York City

Canlis, Seattle

Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colo.

Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Ala.

Quince, San Francisco


Outstanding Restaurateur

JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans

Ken Oringer, Boston (Uni, Little Donkey, Toro, and others)

Caroline Styne, The Lucques Group, Los Angeles (Lucques, A.O.C., Tavern, and others)

Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group, Philadelphia (Fork, High Street on Market, High Street on Hudson, and others)


Outstanding Service

Boka, Chicago

Saison, San Francisco

Zahav, Philadelphia

Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Zuni Café, San Francisco


Outstanding Wine Program

A.O.C., Los Angeles 

Bacchanal, New Orleans

Benu, San Francisco

FIG, Charleston, S.C.

The Little Nell, Aspen, Colo.


Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

Cathy Corison, Corison Winery, St. Helena, Calif.

Diane Flynt, Foggy Ridge Cider, Dugspur, Va.

Miljenko Grgich, Grgich Hills Estate, Rutherford, Calif.

Steve Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wines, Napa, Calif.

Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda, Calif.


Rising Star Chef of the Year

Camille Cogswell, Zahav, Philadelphia

Clare de Boer, King, NYC

Sarah Rinkavage, Marisol, Chicago

Miles Thompson, Michael’s, Santa Monica, CA

Kevin Tien, Himitsu, Washington, D.C.


Best Chef in the Great Lakes (Ill., Ind., Mich., Ohio)

Andrew Brochu, Roister, Chicago

Abraham Conlon, Fat Rice, Chicago

Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute, Chicago

David Posey and Anna Posey, Elske, Chicago

Lee Wolen, Boka, Chicago


Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic (D.C., Del., Md., N.J., Pa., Va.)

Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C.

Tom Cunanan, Bad Saint, Washington, D.C.

Rich Landau, Vedge, Philadelphia

Jeremiah Langhorne, The Dabney, Washington, D.C.

Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore


Best Chef in the Midwest (Iowa, Kan., Minn., Mo., Neb., N.D., S.D., Wis.)

Karen Bell, Bavette La Boucherie, Milwaukee

Steven Brown, Tilia, Minneapolis

Justin Carlisle, Ardent, Milwaukee

Gavin Kaysen, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Ann Kim, Young Joni, Minneapolis


Best Chef in New York City (Five boroughs)

Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy

Ignacio Mattos, Estela

Missy Robbins, Lilia, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Alex Stupak, Empellón Midtown

Jody Williams, Buvette Gastrothèque


Best Chef in the Northeast (Conn. Mass., Maine, N.H., N.Y. state, R.I., and Vt.)

Karen Akunowicz, Myers + Chang, Boston

Tiffani Faison, Tiger Mama, Boston

Tony Messina, Uni, Boston

Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA

Benjamin Sukle, Oberlin, Providence, R.I.


Best Chef in the Northwest (Alaska, Idaho, Mont. Ore., Wash., and Wyo.)

Edouardo Jordan, Salare, Seattle

Katy Millard, Coquine, Portland, OR

Bonnie Morales, Kachka, Portland, OR

Justin Woodward, Castagna, Portland, OR

Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle


Best Chef in the South (Ala., Ark., Fla., La., Miss. and Puerto Rico)

Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar, Oxford, MS

Nina Compton, Compère Lapin, New Orleans

Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, PR

Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans

Brad Kilgore, Alter, Miami

Slade Rushing, Brennan’s, New Orleans


Best Chef in the Southeast (Ga., Ky., N.C., S.C., Tenn., W.Va.)

Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah, GA

Katie Button, Nightbell, Asheville, NC

Cassidee Dabney, The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN

Rodney Scott, Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Charleston, SC

Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis


Best Chef in the Southwest (Ariz., Colo., N.M. Okla., Texas and Utah)

Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie, Austin

Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Austin

Steve McHugh, Cured, San Antonio

Martín Rios, Restaurant Martín, Santa Fe

Alex Seidel, Mercantile Dining & Provision, Denver


Best Chef in the West (Calif., Hawaii and Nev.)

Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles

Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco

Jeremy Fox, Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica, CA

Jessica Koslow, Sqirl, Los Angeles

Travis Lett, Gjelina, Venice, CA


Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

Correction: March 16, 2018 An earlier version of this story stated that all of the Outstanding Chef nominees were women. All of the nominees in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category are women.

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