New Orleans finalists for 2018 James Beard Awards_lowres (copy)

The 2019 James Beard Award finalists were announced Wednesday.

The James Beard Foundation announced its 2019 award finalists. 

New Orleans usually is well represented at the prestigious awards, considered by many the Oscars of the food world. A list of semi-finalists was published in February and has been whittled down to a list of finalists. Winners will be announced at the James Beard Awards Gala on May 6 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Below, the local finalists:

Outstanding Chef:

Donald Link. The cofounder of Herbsaint, Cochon and Peche has been nominated five times previously.

Outstanding Pastry Chef:

Kelly Fields. The Willa Jean pastry chef has been a semifinalist for this award four times.

Outstanding Restaurateur:

JoAnn Clevenger of Upperline. She’s been in the running for this award six years in a row.

Outstanding Service:


Outstanding Wine Program:

Bacchanal Wine

Rising Star Chef of the Year:

Ana Castro of Coquette. The award is focused on chefs under 30 years old.

Best Chef: South

Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus. The Coquette chefs both were finalists for this award last year. 

Slade Rushing. The chef of Brennan’s has been nominated for this award four times before.

Isaac Toups. The chef and owner of Toups’ Meatery and Toups South has been a finalist for this award once before.

New Orleans also has two finalists for the media awards, including | Times-Picayune food writer Brett Anderson, who is nominated for the Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award. Loyola University historian Justin Nystrom was nominated for his book Creole Italian: Sicilian Immigrants and the Shaping of New Orleans Food Culture.