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2019 James Beard Award Semifinalists Announced: The Full List

In Patch


By Beth Dalbey, Patch National Staff

The James Beard Foundation has announced regional semifinalists for its 2019 awards, known as the Oscars of the culinary world.

Restaurants and chefs across the country are semifinalists for 2019 James Beard Awards. The regional semifinalists for the awards — sometimes referred to as the Oscars of the culinary world — were announced Wednesday.

The prestigious Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists represent a wide range of culinary talent, from exceptional chefs and dining destinations nationally and across 10 different regions. The 21 award categories include best new restaurants, outstanding bars, outstanding bakers and rising star chefs 30 years of age or younger.

The final winners will be announced during a press conference in Houston on Wednesday, March 27. It will be hosted by James Beard Award–winning chef Hugo Ortega at his namesake Mexican restaurant, Hugo’s.

The James Beard Foundation solicits entries for the awards in mid-October of each year. They are reviewed by the Restaurant and Chef Committee to determine eligibility and regional representation, and are then voted on by more than 600 judges from across the country to determine the final nominees.

The same group of judges, which is comprised of leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Award winners, then votes on the nominees to select the winners.

Tabulations to determine the nominees and winners are done by independent auditors Lutz & Carr. The governing Awards committee, board of trustees, and staff of the James Beard Foundation do not vote, and the results are kept confidential until the presentation of winners in May.

Best Chef: South

Lindsay Autry, The Regional Kitchen & Public House, West Palm Beach, Florida
David Bancroft, Acre, Auburn, Alabama
Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar, Oxford, Mississippi
Bill Briand, Fisher’s Upstairs at Orange Beach Marina, Orange Beach, Alabama
Clay Conley, Buccan, Palm Beach, Florida
Alex Eaton, The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen, Jackson, Mississippi
Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans
Maria Mercedes Grubb, Gallo Negro, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Michael Gulotta, Maypop, New Orleans
Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf, New Orleans
Timothy Hontzas, Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, Alabama
Brad Kilgore, Alter, Miami
Niven Patel, Ghee Indian Kitchen, Miami
Matthew McClure, The Hive, Bentonville, Arksansas
Alex Perry, Vestige, Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Jeannie Pierola, Edison: Food+Drink Lab, Tampa, Florida
Slade Rushing, Brennan’s, New Orleans
Melissa Donahue-Talmage, Sweet Melissa’s Café, Sanibel, Florida
Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery, New Orleans

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