The James Beard Foundation released its list of semifinalists — known as the “long list” — Wednesday morning, and Chicago restaurants, bars, chefs, and beverage professionals snagged 15 nominations. That number is four fewer than the 19 semifinalists named in 2020, the last time the awards were given. The awards ceremony for some of the highest honors in the food world will return on June 13 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Finalists will be revealed in a livestream on Wednesday, March 16.
This year’s Chicago nominee highlights include a Best New Restaurant nod for Kasama, the smash-hit Filipino hotspot from wife-and-husband team Genie Kwon and Tim Flores in West Town named one of Eater’s 11 Best New Restaurants in America. Meanwhile, Noah Sandoval’s recently revamped Oriole earned a nomination for Outstanding Restaurant alongside Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark’s Parachute, which remains temporarily closed.
The 2022 semifinalist list is also stacked with first-time nominees, including Shannah Primiano of Porto for Outstanding Pastry Chef, Maya-Camille Broussard of Justice of the Pies for Outstanding Baker, and queer-friendly cocktail spot Nobody’s Darling for Outstanding Bar Program. Rodolfo Cuadros, the chef behind the pan-Latin restaurant Amaru and vegan-friendly Bloom Plant Based Kitchen, and Darnell Reed of Luella’s Southern Kitchen also earned their first Best Chef: Great Lakes nominations.
Obvious stresses of the pandemic aside, many in the industry will be watching the proceedings closely after the chaos of 2020’s cancelled ceremony. The Foundation claimed the awards were derailed by COVID-19, but New York Times reporting has indicated that the awards were canceled because of allegations of sexism and bullying behavior among nominees and because there were to be no Black winners. The 2022 awards are also the Foundation’s first after an extensive audit that prompted the introduction of a few new protocols, including an independent ethics committee to vet nominees.
Head over to Eater for the long list from around the country. This year’s Chicago semifinalist nominations are below.
(* denotes a repeated nominee from past years)
Best New Restaurant
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Shannah Primiano, Porto
Maya-Camille Broussard, Justice of the Pies
Outstanding Bar Program
Best Chef: Great Lakes
Darnell Reed, Luella’s Southern Kitchen
Dave Park, Jeong
Diana Dávila Boldin, Mi Tocaya Antojería
*Erick Williams, Virtue
*Jason Hammel, Lula Cafe
*John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, Smyth
*Noah Sandoval, Oriole
*Paul Fehribach, Big Jones
Rodolfo Cuadros, Amaru and Bloom Plant Based Kitchen
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.