The biggest night in the restaurant world has rolled back around, preceded by plenty of excitement and drama. At a black-tie ceremony at Chicago’s Lyric Opera on June 5, the James Beard Foundation announced the winners of its Restaurant and Chef Awards. The night included a number of exciting firsts.
This year, Gregory Gourdet took home the award for Best New Restaurant, with his debut Haitian restaurant Kann in Portland, Oregon. Rob Rubba of sustainability-focused Oyster Oyster in Washington, DC, received the Outstanding Chef award. Meanwhile Damarr Brown of Chicago restaurant Virtue was named Emerging Chef, and Yoli, a tortilleria in Kansas City, Missouri, took home the award in a new Outstanding Bakery category.
In the regional Best Chef categories, Junghyun Park of New York Korean tasting menu spot Atomix took home the award for best chef in New York State and Sherry Pocknett of the indigenous restaurant Sly Fox Den Too in Charlestown, Rhode Island received the award for the Northeast. Pocknett becomes the first Indigenous woman to win a James Beard award. Natalia Vallejo of Cocina al Fondo in San Juan, Puerto Rico was named Best Chef in the South, making her the first chef from Puerto Rico to receive the award.
This year’s finalists, announced March 29, included exciting bright spots and BA favorites including Shaina Loew-Banayan of Cafe Mutton in Hudson, New York (one of BA’s 10 Best New Restaurants of 2022), and Amanda Shulman of Her Place Supper Club in Philadelphia, (one of our 50 Best New Restaurants of 2022). The glitzy ceremony draws intrigue from restaurateurs, chefs, and diners who regard the awards as a pinnacle of achievement in the food world.
These Are the Chef and Restaurant Award Finalists
In the past few years though, the intrigue surrounding the awards has leaned in the direction of scrutiny, as the foundation faces an ongoing flurry of controversy. This year’s ceremony is the second following a two-year hiatus, during which JBF launched an internal audit promising to radically overhaul its practices in the service of diversity, equity, and, more broadly, transparency. JBF’s much-anticipated return in 2022 was received positively, seeing a pool of winners markedly more diverse than in past years.
Still, the rollout of a new vetting process and updated disciplinary procedures for violating JBF’s code of ethics has been met with mixed reviews. Some chefs and committee members have expressed discontent over a continued lack of transparency and communication regarding disciplinary measures, and the foundation mostly refuses to shed light on its approach.
Read More About the Foundation’s Ongoing Drama
Despite it all, the show goes on. The Restaurant and Chef Awards remains one of the food world’s biggest events, and winning can help propel a chef’s career to new heights. Read on for a full list of winners for this year’s James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards.
Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group, Philadelphia
Brandon Chrostowski, EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, ClevelandGreg Dulan, Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen, Dulan’s on Crenshaw, and Dulanville, Los AngelesAaron Hoskins, Sarah Simmons, and Elie Yigo, CITY GRIT Hospitality Group, Columbia, South CarolinaVenvy and Quynh Pham, Phở Bắc Sup Shop, Pacific Standard Time, The Boat, SeattleEllen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group, Philadelphia