10 Chicago restaurants, chefs, and restaurateurs have a chance to be awarded an "Oscar of the Food World" on May 1. The James Beard Foundation announced its award finalists today, and Topolobampo, the Boka Restaurant Group, and all five Best Chef: Great Lakes finalists highlight Chicago’s nominees for the 2017 Restaurant and Chef Awards.
Rick Bayless’ Mexican fine-dining legend Topolobampo has a chance to win what many consider to be the top award, Outstanding Restaurant. The Boka guys Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz are finalists for Outstanding Restaurateur for the second year in a row. And Jenner Tomaska of Next has a chance to win the Rising Star Chef of the Year award.
More than 20 semifinalists from Chicago sadly didn’t advance to the finals. Those include Tony Mantuano and Carrie Nahabedian (for Outstanding Chef); Oriole, Roister, and Smyth (for Best New Restaurant); Aya Fukai and Meg Galus (for Outstanding Pastry Chef), plus Jake Bickelhaupt, 42 grams, Paul Fehribach, Phillip Foss, Gene Kato, Edward Kim, Ryan McCaskey, Iliana Regan, Noah Sandoval, Charles Joly, Sepia, Lost Lake, David Park (of Hanbun), and North Pond and Boka (for Outstanding Service).
Read through the full list of local finalists below and head over to Eater National for the list from around the country. The awards take place at the Lyric Opera House on May 1, once again right here in Sweet Home Chicago.
Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group
Rising Star Chef of the Year
Jenner Tomaska, Next
Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Abraham Conlon, Fat Rice
Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde
Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute
Lee Wolen, Boka
Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria
Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread
Best Design, 76 Seats and Over
Best Television Segment
Steve Dolinsky, The Hungry Hound, ABC7