The James Beard Foundation will present its annual culinary awards Monday (May 7), and once again New Orleans has a full slate of contenders vying for this high-profile accolades.
Winners will be named during an awards ceremony in Chicago that begins at 6 p.m.
The finalists were drawn from a much larger initial list of semifinalists released in February. The James Beard Foundation said its roster of nominees was selected from some 20,000 chefs, restaurants and bars submitted by the public during an open call last fall. See the complete list of national finalists here.
Here are the local finalists by category:
For the fifth year, JoAnn Clevenger of Upperline Restaurant is up for Outstanding Restaurateur, an award the James Beard Foundations gives to “a working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship.”
Also for the fifth year, Donald Link is in the running for the group’s Outstanding Chef award. The Louisiana native and his restaurant group have won numerous James Beard Awards in the past, and in 2014 his Pêche Seafood Grill won the national award for Best New Restaurant.
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Kelly Fields, pastry chef and partner in Willa Jean café and bakery, is back for the second year as a finalist for this national award.
Outstanding Wine Service
Bacchanal, the wine shop that morphed into a wine bar, wine garden and unique oenophile oasis in the Bywater, is nominated alongside more traditional restaurants around the country.
Outstanding Bar Program
The Freret Street lounge Cure gets its third consecutive nomination for this national award.
Best Chef: South
New Orleans had seven semifinalists for this regional award. Those advancing as finalists are:
- Nina Compton of Compère Lapin
- Slade Rushing of Brennan’s Restaurant
- Michael Stoltzfus and Kristen Essig, the co-chefs of Coquette
The other finalists for this regional award are Vishwesh Bhatt of Snackbar in Oxford, Mississippi (a restaurant from New Orleans native John Currence); Jose Enrique of Jose Enrique restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Brad Kilgore of Alter in Miami.
America's Classics and Who's Who inductees
New Orleans has a pair of new inductees in the James Beard Foundation's list of Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. The honor this year is shared by Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin, the cousins who together run Commander's Palace. Restaurant founders Ella Brennan and the late Dick Brennan were similarly inducted in the industry list earlier.
The James Beard Foundation has already announced the 2018 recipients of its America’s Classics awards, and a New Orleans name made the list again this year.
Separate from its chef and restaurant awards, and announced well in advance, the America’s Classic Award is intended to recognize establishments of “timeless appeal” that serve food “that reflects the character of their communities,” according to the foundation. Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, Mosca’s and Willie Mae’s Scotch House are other New Orleans businesses to win the America’s Classics award in past years.
This year's James Beard awards for books, journalism and broadcast media were presented last week. See those results here.
This New Orleans dining guide is my appreciation for what it means to live in a great food city, a place with its own character, a strong sens…
The build-out happened fast, transforming the former Kenton’s into chef Alon Shaya’s new restaurant Saba in just a few weeks. What’s built in,…
The carrots and radishes and rapini that William Champagne now sells through the New Orleans Food Co-Op are harvested a few miles away and del…