2023 James Beard Award Semifinalists Announced

In a Jan. 25 New York City press release, the James Beard Foundation (JBF) announced its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards Semifinalists with nominees to be announced on March 29 and winners celebrated at an awards banquet at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on June 5. 

In Washington, D.C., Rob Rubba of Oyster Oyster was recognized in the “Outstanding Chef” category. “Best New Restaurants” went to Bar Spero and Causa. Michael Reginbogn and Jason Berry of Knead Hospitality and Design (Mi Vida, Li’l Succotash and Gatsby) were selected as “Outstanding Restaurateurs.” Ris took Outstanding Restaurant in D.C. Elias Taddesse of Mélange was cited as “Emerging Chef.” Flight Wine Bar was recognized for “Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages,” and Allegory was cited as “Outstanding Bar.” 

For the Mid-Atlantic region, “Best Chef” recognitions went to: Chris Amendola of Foraged in Baltimore, Steve Chu of Ekiben in Baltimore, Joy Crump of Foode in Fredericksburg, David Deshaies of L’Ardente in D.C., Rahman “Rock” Harper of Queen Mother’s Fried Chicken in Arlington, Enrique Limardo of Seven Reasons in D.C., Peter Prime of Bammy’s in D.C., Michael Rafidi of Albi in D.C., Ryan Ratino of Bresca in D.C., Omar Rodrigues of Oyamel Cocina Mexicana in D.C., and Kevin Tien of Moon Rabbit in D.C.

“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.” 

“It’s 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, JBF Board of Trustees. “I’m 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 JBF’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,” according to JBF. The 2023 Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists are recognized across 23 categories, including a new Award for “Outstanding Bakery.” 

JBF is a “non-profit culinary arts organization based in James Beard’s former Greenwich Village townhouse” – now used as a “performance space” for visiting chefs – whose mission is to “celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone,” the foundation’s website says. The foundation has “launched a series of socially responsible initiatives in the past decade, including women’s entrepreneurial leadership programs and a “Chefs’ Boot Camp for Policy and Change” with the goals of “establish[ing] a more equitable and sustainable food system through education, advocacy and thought leadership.” In addition to food industry awards, JBF also offers educational initiatives, “scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training and thought-leader convening.” 

According to the JBF website, James Beard was “anointed the ‘Dean of American cookery’ by the New York Times in 1954… [and] laid the groundwork for the food revolution that has put America at the forefront of global gastronomy. He was a pioneer foodie, host of the first food program on the fledgling medium of television in 1946, the first to suspect that classic American culinary traditions might cohere into a national cuisine, and an early champion of local products and markets. [He also] nurtured a generation of American chefs and cookbook authors who have changed the way we eat.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *