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Here Are the Bay Area James Beard Media Award Nominees for 2022

Plus, wage theft lawsuit against East Bay restaurant settles and more Bay Area food intel

Brandon Jew Patricia Chang
Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

The James Beard Foundation released its 2022 list of Media Award nominees Wednesday, highlighting the year’s strongest pieces of food writing and production across books, news sites, and broadcast. Each category features three nominees, and winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 11. Here are the San Francisco Bay Area locals up for awards this year:

2022 James Beard Foundation Book Awards

Baking and Desserts 

Kristina Cho for Mooncakes and Milk Bread: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by Chinese Bakeries by

Restaurant and Professional

Brandon Jew and Tienlon Ho for Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown: Recipes and Stories from the Birthplace of Chinese American Food

U.S. Foodways

Bryant Terry for Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora

Vegetable-Focused Cooking

Bryant Terry for Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes

2022 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award Nominees

Audio Reporting

Lisa H. Morehouse for California Foodways - Home Baked: One Woman’s Subversive Response to the AIDS Crisis; Owls, Swallows, and Bluebirds: Farmers’ Secret Allies

2022 James Beard Foundation Journalism Award Nominees

Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award

Soleil Ho, critic for the San Francisco Chronicle: “The Bay Area is Having a Love Affair with Smashburgers. This is the One You’ll Want to Eat Again and Again”; “Impossible’s New Vegan Nuggets Taste Better than McNuggets. Sadly, that’s not Saying Much”; “S.F. Restaurant’s $72 Fried Rice Was a Runaway Hit. It Was Also the Chef’s Nightmare”

San Francisco baker struggles with permitting red tape

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Heather Knight covered the travails of Butter & Crumble owner Sophie Smith, as she worked to legally rent kitchen space from a San Francisco restaurant to run her baking business. For 18 months, Smith encountered red tape from the city over longstanding permitting rules that wouldn’t allow her to use kitchens at establishments that sold alcohol, forcing her to work outside legal bounds. San Francisco eventually changed its rules under the Small Business Recovery Act, which allowed food businesses to rent kitchens from any restaurant or bar, thanks to Smith...who didn’t find out until months after the law passed.

Oakland restaurant Calavera settled wage theft lawsuits

Berkeleyside tracked down the conclusion of a class-action lawsuit filed against the owners of Calavera in Oakland, finding that the restaurant settled in 2021, five years after initially brought to court. Since the first three employees filed that suit alleging they were not paid the minimum wage or paid for meal breaks or overtime, 263 workers also joined in adding more accusations, including breach of contract, failure to pay all wages upon termination or resignation, and more. The settlement terms are under wrap, and the owners said in a brief statement that they were not at fault, but decided to settle rather than go through a “prolonged court case.”

19-year-old opens a drive-through coffee shop in Berkeley

Berkeleyside also has the story on Diego Rojas, who’s running a coffee shop kiosk located in the Toyota of Berkeley parking lot at the tender age of 19. Already, he has a background in coffee, having worked at Zolo Roasters in Alameda, and he’s taking that knowledge with him to this small spot that serves as both a drive-through and walk-up location. Currently, he’s serving beans from Emeryville’s McLaughlin Coffee Roasters and breakfast burritos from Sonoma Made Foods, along with the requisite coffee menu. Expect more menu upgrades as Rojas settles in.

Mama Oakland reopens following fire

Mama Oakland is reopening after a fire earlier this month forced the restaurant to shut down for repairs. The Grand Avenue restaurant is returning to service on April 27.

Update: May 2, 2022, 10:50 a.m.: This story has been updated to reflect that Lisa H. Morehouse is nominated for a James Beard Award for audio reporting.