A Chicago chef was left off the list of James Beard Award semifinalists that was released last week due to a clerical error. Jason Vincent of Giant was added to the outstanding chef category on the James Beard Foundation’s website yesterday, six days after the list of nominations was originally released.
A spokeswoman for the foundation confirmed the addition in an email, saying, “That is all the information we have to share at this juncture.”
This is not the only change to the Beard ballot after the official announcement. Three chefs were removed from the list of semifinalists, the Foundation announced this morning, because their restaurants have either closed or because they are no longer actively working there.
The Beard Foundation also faced criticism on account of another nominee, Kim Bartmann of the Bartmann Group in the Twin Cities, who is in the outstanding hospitality category. Former employees have argued on social media that Bartmann, who, after a court settlement last year paid $230,000 in back wages and overtime to workers, violated the James Beard code of ethics.
The Beards returned this year after a two-year absence. The foundation cancelled its 2020 and 2021 awards after it discovered that several 2020 nominees had been accused of abusive and other bad behavior, and that none of those that remained were Black. The Beards now strive to be more transparent, equitable, and self-aware; part of the submission process requires chefs and restaurateurs to sign a code of ethics and any accusations will be investigated by an independent ethics committee.
“Consistent with the new Awards process, as announced in September 2021, to the extent any allegations are received about a 2022 Awards candidate they will be reviewed independently by the Ethics Committee,” the foundation said in its ballot update announcement this morning. “All credible allegations of violating the Code of Ethics may disqualify an Entrant, Semifinalist, or Nominee from consideration for a JBF Award.”
The foundation will announce the finalists in a livestream on March 16, and the awards ceremony, often called the Oscars of the food world, will take place on June 13 at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.
Vincent, meanwhile, says in an email that he wasn’t really sure what had happened, but adds, “I got some great advice from my seven year old which was ‘Dad, you gotta cook the best food now!’”