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Here Are SF’s 2023 James Beard Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists

The long list is here, and Pim Techamuanvivit and Val M. Cantu are among the nominees for best chef

A bronze James Beard Foundation Award medal Photo by Victor Spinelli/WireImage
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 Awards are one of the biggest culinary awards in America, and the 2023 semifinalists for the prestigious award were announced Wednesday.

San Francisco and the Bay Area landed semifinalists all throughout the long list, including longtime Japantown bakery Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop appearing in the new Outstanding Bakery category. House of Prime Rib landed another nod for Outstanding Hospitality, the second year in a row for the San Francisco favorite. Meanwhile, Russian restaurant Birch & Rye landed on the long list for Best New Restaurant.

As for chefs, a number of locals were recognized for their work this year: Yuka Ioroi and Kris Toliao of Cassava received a nod for Outstanding Restaurateur; Robbie Wilson of Le Fantastique also landed on the Best Chef for California, his first for the new restaurant. Other Best Chef nominees include Pim Techamuanvivit (Kin Khao), Srijith Gopinathan (Ettan), and Val M. Cantu (Californios).

The East Bay also had a number of chefs on the long list, including Vince Bugtong of Oakland bar Viridian; Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino of Cafe Ohlone in Berkeley; Intu-on Kornnawong of Jo’s Modern Thai in Oakland; and James Syhabout of Michelin-starred Commis. Read the entire list here, with the Bay Area nominees below.

It’s the second year back for the awards, after the James Beard Foundation canceled its awards season in 2020 and 2021, after several nominees decided to withdraw their names from consideration following some controversies over the winners and treatment of nominees accused of abusive working conditions. The awards returned in 2022 after an internal audit, with new categories added and an announced effort to have at least 50 percent of committee members and judges be people of color by 2023.

Now that the long list has dropped, a panel of judges will work through the nominees to select a smaller number of finalist nominees, which are set to be announced on March 29. A gala will be held in Chicago on June 5 to announce the final winners.

2023 James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • Yuka Ioroi and Kris Toliao, Cassava, San Francisco, CA

Outstanding Chef

  • David Nayfeld, Che Fico, San Francisco, CA

Outstanding Restaurant (Presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water)

  • Mourad, San Francisco, CA

Emerging Chef (Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water)

  • Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino, Cafe Ohlone, Berkeley, CA

Best New Restaurant

  • Birch & Rye, San Francisco, CA

Outstanding Bakery

  • Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop, San Francisco, CA

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

  • Vince Bugtong, Viridian, Oakland, CA

Outstanding Hospitality (Presented by American Airlines)

  • House of Prime Rib, San Francisco, CA

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

  • Lazy Bear, San Francisco, CA

Outstanding Bar

  • Trick Dog, San Francisco, CA

Best Chef: California

  • Val M. Cantu, Californios, San Francisco, CA
  • Kyle and Katina Connaughton, SingleThread, Healdsburg, CA
  • Srijith Gopinathan, Ettan, Palo Alto, CA
  • Matthew Kammerer, The Harbor House Inn, Elk, CA
  • Intu-on Kornnawong, Jo’s Modern Thai, Oakland, CA
  • James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland, CA
  • Craig Takehara, Binchoyaki, Sacramento, CA
  • Pim Techamuanvivit, Kin Khao, San Francisco, CA
  • Robbie Wilson, Le Fantastique, San Francisco, CA
  • Akira Yoshizumi, Sushi Yoshizumi, San Mateo, CA

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.