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Chicago Has Nine James Beard Award Finalists For 2022

The foundation’s gala will return to the Lyric Opera in June for the first time in three years

Closeup of the James Beard Foundation award medal.
The James Beard Foundation announced finalists on Wednesday morning.
James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation on Wednesday morning released its list of finalists for 2022, and Chicago restaurants, bars, and chefs picked up nine nominations. That’s just one more than the eight finalists named in 2020, when the foundation canceled its ceremony amid pandemic tumult and allegations of bullying, sexism, and racism. Widely considered among the highest honors in the food world, the 31st annual James Beard Foundation Awards gala will at long last return on June 13 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The awards are designed to highlight outstanding chefs, restaurants, and hospitality professionals. This year, the foundation has also resumed separate events for food journalism and media award nominees, but in a new twist will announce the 2022 media winners in a live ceremony on June 11 at Columbia College Chicago. It released its 2022 long list of semifinalists in late February.

While many of the first-time semifinalists didn’t make it through to the finalist nominations, three exciting local contenders remain: Kasama, chefs Tim Flores and Genie Kwon’s wildly popular bakery and Filipino fine dining spot in West Town, for Best New Restaurant; Nobody’s Darling, the queer cocktail bar in Andersonville that’s one of just two Black-owned LGBTQ taverns in the city, for Outstanding Bar Program; and Maya-Camille Broussard, the pie master behind Justice of the Pies, for Outstanding Baker.

As in most years, Chicago chefs largely swept the Best Chef: Great Lakes category, save for a single contender from Detroit. That group includes repeat nominees Erick Williams (Virtue), John Shields and Karen Urie Shields (Smyth), Jason Hammel (Lula Cafe), and Noah Sandoval (Oriole). Chef and restaurateur Jason Vincent (Giant) is still in the running for Outstanding Chef — though the foundation accidentally left him off the original long list for nearly a week. Parachute, the Korean-American fine dining hotspot from Beard winning chefs Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, is a finalist for Outstanding Restaurant, despite the fact that it remains temporarily closed.

Head over to Eater for the full list of finalists nationwide. This year’s Chicago finalists are below.

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.

(* denotes first-time finalist)

Best New Restaurant


Outstanding Restaurant


Outstanding Bar Program

*Nobody’s Darling

Outstanding Baker

*Maya-Camille Broussard, Justice of the Pies

Best Chef: Great Lakes

Erick Williams, Virtue

Jason Hammel, Lula Cafe

John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, Smyth

Noah Sandoval, Oriole

Outstanding Chef

*Jason Vincent, Giant


1001 North Winchester Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-3790 Visit Website

Lyric Opera

20 N Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606 312 332 2244 Visit Website

Justice of the Pies

8655 South Blackstone Avenue, , IL 60619 Visit Website


3500 North Elston Avenue, , IL 60618 (872) 204-7138 Visit Website


661 West Walnut Street, , IL 60661 (312) 877-5899 Visit Website


177 North Ada Street, , IL 60607 (773) 913-3773 Visit Website

Lula Cafe

2537 North Kedzie Boulevard, , IL 60647 (773) 489-9554 Visit Website


3209 West Armitage Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 252-0997 Visit Website


1462 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL