Chicago's second hosting of the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards is less than two months away, and the "Oscars of the Food World" announced the 2016 finalists in a live ceremony today in San Francisco. The Chicago food and drink scene will be represented well in its hometown this year, as Alinea is a finalist for one of its highest honors and the Boka Restaurant Group is for three awards, moving on from the semifinalists that were announced in February.
Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas' flagship picked up a nod for Outstanding Restaurant, the Boka Group for outstanding restaurateur, pastry chef, and Best Chef: Great Lakes, and Sepia is a finalist for two awards. In fact, Chicago swept the Best Chef: Great Lakes category finalists, as one of them, Curtis Duffy, had the documentary made about him also get a nod. Windy City spots are also finalists in the wine program, service, and design categories.
Read all of them below, and head over to Eater National for the full list from around the country. The awards ceremony will take place on May 2 at the Lyric Opera House right here in Sweet Home Chicago for the second year in a row.
Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group
Rising Star Chef of the Year:
Jenner Tomaska, Next
Outstanding Pastry Chef:
Meg Galus, Boka
Best Chef: Great Lakes
Abraham Conlon, Fat Rice
Curtis Duffy, Grace
Lee Wolen, Boka
Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria
Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia
Outstanding Wine Program:
Outstanding Design, 76 Seats and Over:
Land & Sea Dept., Cherry Circle Room
Roman and Williams, Cindy's