The James Beard Awards' 2023 Chef And Restaurant Nominees

For those in the culinary industry, there's very few honors as prestigious as the James Beard Foundation Awards. In fact, some consider the awards the Oscars of food. And, on March 29, the list of 2023's Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, Leadership Award winners, and Humanitarian of the Year and Lifetime Achievement honorees were announced at the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.  

"The James Beard Awards celebrate outstanding achievement and exceptional culinary talent, as well as all those doing incredible work on behalf of our communities and wider food system. This year's nominees, winners, and honorees are inspiring exemplars of that," said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation, in a press release. "We congratulate all those recognized today and look forward to celebrating them at another exciting Awards Weekend in Chicago this June."

The James Beard Foundation (JBF) recognizes the 2023 Restaurant and Chef Nominees across 22 categories. Here's the scoop on the 2023 nominees for Emerging Chef, Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Chef, and Outstanding Restaurant ahead of the awards ceremony in Chicago on June 5.

Emerging Chef

This award recognizes "a chef who displays exceptional talent, character, and leadership ability, and who is likely to make a significant impact in years to come, while contributing positively to their broader community," as listed in the JBF press release. From coast to coast, each of these exceptional chefs present unique experiences dear to their hearts.

Damarr Brown of Virtue in Chicago, Illinois focuses on American Southern cuisine, while Rashida Holmes of Bridgetown Roti represents their Caribbean heritage in Los Angeles, California. Serigne Mbaye of Dakar NOLA in New Orleans, Louisiana connects the dots between Senegambia and New Orleans through food. And, way more than a wine and cocktail bar, Clover Hill's Charlie Mitchell offers an intimate menu that feels like home in Brooklyn, New York.  Finally, Amanda Shulman offers a dinner party experience that's part French, part Italian, with a bit of Jewish touches mixed in at Her Place Supper Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Best New Restaurant

To be considered for the Best New Restaurant category, the venue must have opened between January 1 and September 30, 2022 and "already demonstrates excellence in cuisine, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community, and seems likely to make a significant impact in years to come," as the press release outlines. 

The Peruvian Causa in Washington, D.C joins the Nigerian Dept of Culture in New York, New York for the Eastern states. The Midwest has a solid lineup of nominees with Lupe and Iris in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Nolia in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Obélix in Chicago, Illinois. And, coming in hot, Don Artemio Mexican Heritage in Fort Worth, Restaurant Beatrice in Dallas, and Tatemó in Houston represent the Lone Star State of Texas. Neng Jr.'s leads the Southern states in Asheville, North Carolina, while Kann in Portland, Oregon dishes it up for the West.  

Outstanding Chef

The JBF press release notes that to be considered an outstanding chef, the nominee "sets high culinary standards and has served as a positive example for other food professionals, while contributing positively to their broader community." And, these chefs certainly set a pretty high bar.  

Before she even opened Nightshade Noodle Bar in Lynn, Massachusetts, Chef Rachel Miller was recognized as one of Boston's Hottest Up and Comers in Zagat's30 under 30. And, native Californian Niki Nakayama lived in Japan for three years to immerse herself in Japanese cuisine before opening n/naka in Los Angeles for authentic Japanese cuisine in California. 

Whether it's his beliefs in rebuilding the oyster reefs along Chesapeake Bay, or his attention to his carbon footprint by sourcing from regenerative farmers, Rob Rubba of Oyster Oyster in Washington, D.C. is a leader in the sustainability movement. Just north, Erik Ramirez explores his Peruvian roots at his Michelin-starred Llama Inn in Brooklyn, New York. Finally, Hajime Sato of Sozai in Clawson, Michigan became one America's first sushi chefs to commit to using only sustainable seafood.

Outstanding Restaurant

Similar to the outstanding chef category, the JBF press release notes that the requirements for outstanding restaurant nominees must demonstrate "consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community."

Copine in Seattle, Washington approaches global cuisine with weekly menus. Coracora brings its Peruvian roots to West Hartford, Connecticut. And seasonally-inspired classics round up the eight-course tasting menu at Friday Saturday Sunday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. House-cured salami, homemade pasta and breads are a thing at Lucia in Dallas, Texas. And, Mita's highlights the best in Latin and Spanish cuisine in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

It is too soon to predict who will take home the James Beard Foundation award in each category. But, we're betting you have your favorites already earmarked. Regardless, take the time to wish the nominees, may it be in person or online, a big congratulations for coming this far. Truly, it is no easy feat considering how many incredible places America boasts in the culinary landscape.

Tasting Table raises its glass to each and every one of this year's nominees, and wishes them good luck!