James Beard Foundation redraws regional map

James Beard Foundation realigns award regions

California and Texas to get their own awards in 2020

The James Beard Foundation has reworked its regional “Restaurant & Chef Awards” categories, shifting some states, renaming some regions and adding two of them, resulting in a total of 12 regions instead of 10, the New York City-based organization said Tuesday.

California, formerly part of the “West” region that also included Hawaii and Nevada, is now its own region. Hawaii is now part of the new Northwest & Pacific region along with Alaska, Washington and Oregon. Nevada, meanwhile, is now part of a restructured Southwest region along with Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

Texas, formerly part of the Southwest, is now, like California, a region unto itself.

A new Mountain region is comprised of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

New York State, excluding New York City, used to be part of the Northeast Region along with the six New England States. Now upstate restaurants will be competing with those in the five boroughs of the city in the new New York State region. Otherwise, the Northeast region is staying the same.

The Great Lakes, Midwest,, Mid-Atlantic, South and Southeast regions remain the same.

In a press release, the foundation said that it works with “outside demographic consultants” every few years “to analyze census data and the shifting restaurant landscape to strive for balance in regional representation at the Awards.” It used that information and restaurant data to make the regions “as evenly distributed and culturally distinct as possible.”

“The national restaurant scene and populations that fuel it are constantly shifting,” Beard Foundation chief strategy officer Mitchell Davis said. “We understand that as a foundation, we must continue to adapt to server our community as fairly as possible. Our regional Best Chef categories have undergone several geographic shifts in the past to account for demographic changes found in our research and our experience with the dynamic communities around the country.”

He added that by adding two regions, the foundation is “recognizing the explosion of food and restaurant culture across the country.”

The last change to the Restaurant and Chef awards was made in 2012 with the addition of an Outstanding Bar Program award.

New regions were last added in 2007, when the Great Lakes and South regions were separated from the Midwest and Southeast.

Below is a list of the 12 new regions.

  • California
  • Great Lakes: Ill., Ind., Mich. and Ohio
  • Mid-Atlantic: Del., Md., N.J., Pa., Va. and D.C.
  • Midwest: Iowa, Kan., Minn., Mo., N.D., Neb., S.D. and Wis.
  • Mountain: Colo., Idaho, Mont., Utah and Wyo.
  • New York State
  • Northeast: Conn., Mass., Maine, N.H., R.I., and Vt.
  • Northwest and Pacific: Alaska, Hawaii, Ore. and Wash.
  • South: Ala., Ark., Puerto Rico, Fla., La. and Miss.
  • Southeast: Ga., Ky., N.C., S.C., Tenn. and W. Va.
  • Southwest: Ariz., N.M., Nev. and Okla.
  • Texas

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@informa.com 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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