James Beard Semifinalists Announced, New Orleans Grabs 12 Nominations in 6 Categories

NEW YORK (press release) – The James Beard Foundation® announced today its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards Semifinalists in advance of the James Beard Awards® presented by Capital One. The full list of 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards Semifinalists can be found below and on the James Beard Foundation website. Nominees will be announced on Wednesday, March 29, and winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on Monday, June 5, 2023, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. 

“Congratulations to all our 2023 James Beard Award Semifinalists! This is always an exhilarating moment as we kick off the Awards cycle and recognize the outstanding achievements of individuals and teams across the country,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “After a year of fundamental changes, we look forward to building on the progress made, celebrating those paving a better future for us all—through their talent and craft, service to others, and commitment to a better, more sustainable industry. We look forward to sharing more exciting details for the 2023 ceremonies in the coming days.”

The James Beard Awards, considered to be among the nation’s most prestigious honors, recognize exceptional talent in the culinary and food media industries, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.  

“Congratulations to our 2023 Semifinalists. It is exciting to see deserving talent across the industry be recognized for their achievement—and that the changes we made to our policies and procedures are still bearing fruit,” said Tanya Holland, Chair of the James Beard Awards Committee, James Beard Foundation Board of Trustee. “I am honored to be part of a program that can have a positive effect on so many.”

“We are so thrilled to recognize this year’s Restaurant and Chef Awards Semifinalists, a truly diverse group of talented individuals across the culinary industry,” said Adrian Miller, Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee Chair

The James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards—established in 1990 and first awarded in 1991—are one of five separate recognition programs of the Awards. This Awards program celebrates excellence across a range of experiences, from fine-dining establishments to casual gems, and emerging talents to established masters. The 2023 Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists are recognized across 23 categories, including the new Award for Outstanding Bakery. James Beard Awards policies and procedures can be viewed at jamesbeard.org/awards/policies, and an overview of the voting process can be viewed here.

The 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards Semifinalists are: 

Outstanding Chef

A chef who sets high culinary standards and has served as a positive example for other food professionals, while contributing positively to their broader community.

  • Junior Borges, Meridian, Dallas, TX 
  • Nina Compton, Compère Lapin, New Orleans, LA
  • Greg Collier, Leah & Louise, Charlotte, NC
  • Renee Erickson, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle, WA
  • Shigeru Fukuyoshi, Sagami, Collingswood, NJ
  • Christine Ha and Tony J. Nguyen, Xin Chào, Houston, TX
  • Andrew Le, The Pig and the Lady, Honolulu, HI
  • Johnny Leach, The Town Company, Kansas City, MO
  • Rachel Miller, Nightshade Noodle Bar, Lynn, MA
  • Eder Montero and Alex Raij, La Vara, Brooklyn, NY
  • David Nayfeld, Che Fico, San Francisco, CA
  • Niki Nakayama, n/naka, Los Angeles, CA
  • Josh Niernberg, Bin 707 Foodbar, Grand Junction, CO
  • Erik Ramirez, Llama Inn, Brooklyn, NY
  • Dana Rodriguez, Super Mega Bien, Denver, CO
  • Rob Rubba, Oyster Oyster, Washington, D.C.
  • Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café, Phoenix, AZ
  • Hajime Sato, Sozai, Clawson, MI
  • Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, FL
  • David Vargas, Vida Cantina, Portsmouth, NH

Outstanding Restaurant Presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water

A restaurant that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community.

  • Ariete, Miami, FL
  • Brennan’s, New Orleans, LA
  • Cassia, Santa Monica, CA
  • La Condesa, Austin, TX
  • Copine, Seattle, WA
  • Cora Cora, West Hartford, CT
  • Friday Saturday Sunday, Philadelphia, PA
  • The Grey, Savannah, GA
  • Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, Boulder, UT
  • Lucia, Dallas, TX
  • Mita’s, Cincinnati, OH
  • Mourad, San Francisco, CA
  • PAGU, Cambridge, MA
  • Proper Meats + Provisions, Flagstaff, AZ
  • RIS, Washington, D.C.
  • Red Rose Restaurant, Lowell, MA
  • Smyth, Chicago, IL
  • Veselka, New York, NY
  • Via Carota, New York, NY
  • Wickman House, Ellison Bay, WI

Emerging Chef Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water

A chef who displays exceptional talent, character, and leadership ability, and who is likely to make a significant impact in years to come, while contributing positively to their broader community.

  • Kane Adkisson, kanō, Omaha, NE
  • Bernard Bennett, Ọkàn, Bluffton, SC
  • Damarr Brown, Virtue, Chicago, IL
  • Victoria Elizondo, Cochinita & Co., Houston, TX
  • Julio Hernandez, Maiz de la Vida, Nashville, TN 
  • Jamie Hoang, Ahan, Madison, WI 
  • Rashida Holmes, Bridgetown Roti, Los Angeles, CA
  • Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin, Best Quality Daughter, San Antonio, TX
  • Telly Justice, HAGS, New York, NY
  • Vinh Le, Cicada Coffee Bar, Cambridge, MA
  • Amado Lopez, Casa Amado Taqueria, Berkley, MI
  • Christian Lowe, Shift Kitchen & Bar, Flagstaff, AZ
  • Serigne Mbaye, Dakar NOLA, New Orleans, LA
  • Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino, Cafe Ohlone, Berkeley, CA 
  • Charlie Mitchell, Clover Hill, New York, NY
  • Bo Porytko, Misfit SnackBar, Denver, CO 
  • Amanda Shulman, Her Place Supper Club, Philadelphia, PA
  • Kevin Smith, Beast & Cleaver, Seattle, WA
  • Elias Taddesse, Mélange, Washington, D.C.
  • Akino West, Rosie’s, Miami, FL

Outstanding Bakery

New in 2023, this category recognizes a baker of breads, pastries, or desserts that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations while contributing positively to its broader community.

  • Angelo Brocato, New Orleans, LA
  • Breadshop, Honolulu, HI
  • Buena Gente Cuban Bakery, Decatur, GA
  • La Casita Bakeshop, Richardson, TX
  • Denise’s Delicacies, Philadelphia, PA
  • Friends & Family, Los Angeles, CA
  • Fujiya Hawai‘i, Honolulu, HI
  • Good Cakes and Bakes, Detroit, MI
  • Grist Milling & Bakery, Missoula, MT
  • Haymaker Bun Company, Middlebury, VT
  • JL Patisserie, Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ
  • Kuluntu Bakery, Dallas, TX
  • La Patisserie Chouquette, St. Louis, MO
  • Mighty Bread Co., Philadelphia, PA
  • Normal Ice Cream, Salt Lake City, UT
  • She Wolf Bakery, New York, NY
  • Unforgettable Bakery & Cafe, Savannah, GA
  • Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop, San Francisco, CA
  • Yoli Tortilleria, Kansas City, MO
  • Zak the Baker, Miami, FL

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

Expanded from Outstanding Wine Program this year to include other beverages, this award is presented to a restaurant that demonstrates exceptional care and skill in the pairing of wine and other beverages with food while contributing positively to its broader community. This includes the selection, preparation, and serving of wine, cocktails, spirits, coffee, tea, beer or any other beverage with outstanding hospitality and service that helps inform and enhance a customer’s appreciation of the beverage(s). Ethical sourcing and positive contributions to the broader community will also be considered. 

  • All Together Now, Chicago, IL
  • Commander’s Palace, New Orleans, LA
  • COTE, New York, NY
  • Flight Wine Bar, Washington, D.C.
  • Foam Brewers, Burlington, VT
  • FRIDA Southwest, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Glai Baan, Phoenix, AZ
  • Hiyu Wine Farm, Hood River, OR
  • Lazy Bear, San Francisco, CA
  • Lyla Lila, Atlanta, GA
  • Macchialina, Miami Beach, FL
  • Monk’s Cafe, Philadelphia, PA
  • Nancy’s Hustle, Houston, TX
  • OK Omens, Portland, OR
  • OTOTO, Los Angeles, CA
  • Rebel Rebel, Somerville, MA
  • Spencer, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Suerte, Austin, TX
  • Sunday Vinyl, Denver, CO
  • Waxlight Bar à Vin, Buffalo, NY

Best Chefs Presented by Capital One (by region)

Chefs who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities, and who are making efforts to help create a sustainable work culture in their respective regions while contributing positively to their broader community.

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)

  • Blake Aguillard and Trey Smith, Saint-Germain, New Orleans, LA
  • Timon Balloo, The Katherine, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Jeremy and Cindy Bearman, Oceano Kitchen, Lantana, FL
  • Ana Castro, Lengua Madre, New Orleans, LA
  • Fernando, Nando, and Valerie Chang, Itamae, Miami, FL
  • Hunter Evans, Elvie’s, Jackson, MS
  • Francis Guzmán, Vianda, San Juan, PR 
  • Amarys and Jordan Herndon, Palm & Pine, New Orleans, LA
  • Timothy Hontzas, Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, AL
  • Alex Perry and Kumi Omori, Vestige, Ocean Springs, MS
  • Rick Mace, Tropical Smokehouse, West Palm Beach, FL
  • Melissa M. Martin, Mosquito Supper Club, New Orleans, LA
  • Pushkar Marathe, Stage, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • Henry Moso, Kabooki Sushi, Orlando, FL
  • Charly Pierre, Fritai, New Orleans, LA
  • Colleen Quarls and Liz Hollinger, Molly’s Rise and Shine, New Orleans, LA
  • Rafael Rios, Yeyo’s El Alma de Mexico, Bentonville, AR
  • Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans, LA
  • Natalia Vallejo, Cocina al Fondo, San Juan, PR
  • Lojo Washington, Queen of Sheeba, West Palm Beach, FL

*As of the 2023 Awards cycle, the Restaurant and Chef Awards defines the annual eligibility time frame as October through September (formerly January through December), to allow the voting body more time to consider businesses opening later in the calendar year.

Upcoming Awards Announcements (*Dates may be subject to change):

  • February 22, 2023: Restaurant and Chef America’s Classics Awards announced 
  • March 29, 2023: Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, Leadership Award winners, and honorees for the Achievement Awards (Lifetime and Humanitarian of the Year recipients) announced live in Nashville, TN
  • April 26, 2023: Nominees for the James Beard Foundation Media Awards announced live in New York City

The 2023 Awards ceremonies will be held in the host city of Chicago on the following dates: 

  • Media Awards: Saturday, June 3, 2023 
  • Leadership Awards: Sunday, June 4, 2023 
  • Restaurant and Chef Awards: Monday, June 5, 2023 

For more information about the James Beard Foundation Awards and the FULL list, visit jamesbeard.org/awards. For up-to-the-minute news about the Awards follow @beardfoundation on Twitter and Instagram and keep an eye out for posts using #jbfa.

Digital Sponsors

Become a MyNewOrleans.com sponsor ...

Sign up for our FREE

New Orleans Magazine email newsletter

Get the the best in New Orleans dining, shopping, events and more delivered to your inbox.