Chef: Bryant Ng has been nominated by the James Beard Foundation. Courtesy photo

Cassia chef Bryant Ng is a semifinalist for the Best Chef in California award from the James Beard Foundation.

The James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards were established in 1991 and is one of five separate recognition programs of the Awards. The awards are returning after a two year hiatus and winners will be announced in June.

“We’re pleased to have an opportunity to celebrate a man who would never shine a spotlight on himself, and extend our sincere congratulations to all this year’s semifinalists,” said the restaurant in a social media post. “We are proud to be in the company of such incredible peers, who bring so much to both our plates and to our communities. And a special thanks to our dedicated Front & Back of House Staff, as well as our Leadership Team, who all work together to make Cassia such a deeply special place.”

According to the Foundation, they suspended their traditional Awards presentation in 2020 and 2021, including the Restaurant and Chef Awards, Media Awards (Book, Broadcast Media and Journalism Awards), and Restaurant Design Awards, in order to take time for self-reflection.

“In the last year, the Foundation conducted an audit of the policies and procedures of the Awards,” said the organization in a statement. “The objectives: to continue the work to remove any systemic bias; increase the diversity of the voting body; ensure that communities far and wide know about the Awards and how eligible candidates may apply; increase transparency in how the Awards function; and align the Awards more outwardly with the Foundation’s mission and values.”

Cassia, located at 1314 7th Street, is a Southeast Asian that previously won a Michelin Plate award. It’s part of the Rustic Canyon group and opened in 2015. For more information, visit

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...