Restaurant awards season has officially begun, with today’s release of the James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists list. As per usual, San Francisco has a strong showing with unsurprising nominations for regulars like Mourad Lahlou (Mourad, Aziza), Belinda Leong and Michel Suas (B. Patisserie), Saison, and Bar Agricole. New to the list this year, though, are Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn), Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood), James Syhabout (Hawker Fare), and more. Interestingly, both Sara Hauman and Melissa Chou have been nominated for the second year in a row for Rising Chef of the Year and Pastry Chef of the Year, respectively, but both are now at Mister Jiu’s. You can see all the Bay Area nominees below.
Over the next month, this “long list” will be pared down, with finalists announced on Wednesday, March 15. The winners will then finally be announced at the awards gala on Monday, May 1 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago — hopefully this year someone from San Francisco will actually win something. Head here for the complete, nationwide list.
Best New Restaurant
A restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award will be given that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.
In Situ, San Francisco
SingleThread, Healdsburg, CA
Tartine Manufactory, San Francisco
A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been a baker or pastry chef for at least five years.
Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie, San Francisco
Outstanding Bar Program
A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits and/or beer service.
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Eligible candidates must have been working as a chef for the past five years.
David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA
Outstanding Pastry Chef
A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.
Melissa Chou, Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco
Nick Muncy, Coi, San Francisco
A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere and service. Eligible restaurants must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years.
Nopa, San Francisco
Quince, San Francisco
A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Candidates must not have won a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.
Gabriela Cámara, Cala, San Francisco
A restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.
Saison, San Francisco
Outstanding Wine Program
A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine.
Benu, San Francisco
Press, St. Helena, CA
Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional
A beer, wine or spirits professional who has made a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.
Vinnie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA
Miljenko Grgich, Grgich Hills Estate, Rutherford, CA
Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, CA
Steve Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wines, Napa, CA
Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA
Rising Star Chef of the Year
A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.
Sara Hauman, Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco
Best Chef: West
Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years with the three most recent years spent in the region.
Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
Christian Geideman, Ippuku, Berkeley, CA
Ravi Kapur, Liholiho Yacht Club, San Francisco
Mourad Lahlou, Mourad, San Francisco
Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
Anthony Mangieri, Una Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco
Preeti Mistry, Juhu Beach Club, Oakland, CA
Joshua Skenes, Saison, San Francisco
James Syhabout, Hawker Fare, San Francisco
Karen Taylor, El Molino Central, Sonoma, CA