The James Beard Foundation’s award night took place at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago, celebrating industry heavyweights from around the country. San Francisco had an excellent crop of contenders this year, with both Corey Lee (Benu) and Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn) nominated for Best Chef West.
After multiple years as a nominee and no award to show for it, this was Lee’s year. Following the successful opening of In Situ last year, continuing success at Monsieur Benjamin, and maintaining three Michelin stars at Benu, it would be hard to argue that Lee is not at the very top of his game. And the odds were in his favor this year, as the chef beat out Crenn and a whole host of LA’s finest, including Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon), Michael Cimarusti (Providence), Ludo Lefebvre (Troi Mec), and Travis Lett (Gjelina).
Though we had a stable of nominees in other categories (see the full list here), including David Kinch (Manresa) and Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood), the Bay Area only took home a couple other wins— Single Thread and Avroko won Outstanding Restaurant Design, 75 Seats and Under (beating out Leo’s Oyster Bar), and La Taqueria was honored as a James Beard Awards Classic.
Though Eater endorsed Quince as the winner for Best Restaurant of the Year, the award went to Topolobampo, a Rick Bayless restaurant in Chicago. Meanwhile, NYC’s Le Coucou took the crown of Best New Restaurant from SF’s In Situ and Tartine Manufactory.
Overall, it was a healthy year of nominees for San Francisco, though few made it to the winner’s circle. Meanwhile, Los Angeles was almost completely shut out this year, with zero wins.
For the full list of winners, head over to Eater National’s exhaustive coverage of the awards.