The James Beard Foundation has announced its list of Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists for the 27th annual James Beard Foundation Awards. Selected from a list of over 24,000 online entries, the prestigious group of semifinalists in 21 categories represents a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations in ten different regions across the U.S., to the nation’s top wine and spirits professionals, best new restaurants, rising star chefs, pastry chefs, and bakers. See this year’s full semifinalist list at the end of this press release or online at jamesbeard.org/awards.
On Wednesday, March 15, the Foundation will announce the final nominees for all award categories during a press conference at a.o.c. restaurant in Los Angeles. Nominations will also be announced live via the Foundation’s Facebook Live video feed at facebook.com/beardfoundation and in real time on Twitter at twitter.com/beardfoundation.
Winners of the 2017 James Beard Media Awards will be announced on Tuesday, April 25, at an exclusive event honoring the nation’s top cookbook authors, culinary broadcast producers and hosts, and food journalists at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City.
Winners of the remaining awards will be announced at the James Beard Foundation Awards Gala at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 1. During the event, which is open to the public, awards for the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards Humanitarian of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Design Icon, Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, and America’s Classics. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country.
The James Beard Foundation holds an online open call for entries beginning in mid-October of each year. This year, over 24,000 entries were received, a list which the Restaurant and Chef Committee reviews to determine eligibility and regional representation. Based on the results and eligibility requirements for each award, the committee then produces a nominating ballot that lists the semifinalists in each of the 21 Restaurant and Chef Award categories, some of which include Outstanding Chef, Outstanding Restaurant, Best Chef in ten different U.S. regions, Outstanding Service, Outstanding Bar Program, and Best New Restaurant.
The list of semifinalists is then sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges from across the country. This panel, which comprises leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award winners, votes on specific award categories to determine the final five nominees in each category. The same judges then vote on these five nominees to select the winners. Tabulations to determine the nominees and winners are done by independent auditors, Lutz & Carr. The governing Awards Committee, board of trustees, and staff of the James Beard Foundation do not vote, and the results are kept confidential until the presentation of winners in May. Awards policies and procedures can be reviewed on the James Beard site at jamesbeard.org/awards/policies.
Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and furthers the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. Each award category has an individual committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program. All JBF Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes.
Santa Monicans on the list include:
Mélisse for Outstanding Service (a restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.)
Chef Miles Thompson, of Michael’s, for Rising Star Chef of the Year (a chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.)
Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon and Bryant Ng of Cassia, Santa Monica for Best Chef: West CA, HI, NV (Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region.)
- Submitted by Mary Blanton Ogushwitz / Jane Shapiro, Magrino public relations