Here Are the 2019 James Beard Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists
By Monica Burton
Today, the James Beard Foundation announced its Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists for 2019. And this year, the list promises to be more diverse than years prior.
Back in October, the James Beard Foundation changed its policies to ensure a more diverse group of decision makers and award winners. For the first time, the makeup of its awards committees would mirror the demographics of the U.S. census. To that end, there are new committee members on the expanded list of 19: food writers Khushbu Shah, Joseph Hernandez, and Adrian Miller. The foundation also asked these committee members to increase the diversity of the awards judges, a group that includes the committee members and industry experts, as well as hundreds of previous James Beard Award winners and regional panelists.
The James Beard Foundation reports that, thanks to these directives, representation of people of color has increased 8 percent on the committee and 14 percent across the judges for the Restaurant & Chef, Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards. (Both groups saw a 5 percent increase in representation of women.) This has translated to a 7 percent increase in the representation of people of color among semifinalists in the Restaurant & Chef categories, although there’s a 6 percent decrease in the number of women from last year.
After the judges and committee members vote, this “long list” will drop down to five finalist nominees per category, to be announced on Wednesday, March 27, from a press conference in Houston. The James Beard Awards Gala, where the previously announced America’s Classics winners are also acknowledged, is scheduled for Monday, May 6, in Chicago. (Meanwhile, media awards winners will be revealed on Friday, April 26.) Below, the full list of semifin
Best Chef: Southalists.
- Lindsay Autry, The Regional Kitchen & Public House, West Palm Beach, FL
- David Bancroft, Acre, Auburn, AL
- Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar, Oxford, MS
- Bill Briand, Fisher’s Upstairs at Orange Beach Marina, Orange Beach, AL
- Clay Conley, Buccan, Palm Beach, FL
- Alex Eaton, The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen, Jackson, MS
- Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, PR
- Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans
- Maria Mercedes Grubb, Gallo Negro, San Juan, PR
- Michael Gulotta, Maypop, New Orleans
- Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf, New Orleans
- Timothy Hontzas, Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, AL
- Brad Kilgore, Alter, Miami
- Niven Patel, Ghee Indian Kitchen, Miami
- Matthew McClure, The Hive, Bentonville, AR
- Alex Perry, Vestige, Ocean Springs, MS
- Jeannie Pierola, Edison: Food+Drink Lab, Tampa, FL
- Slade Rushing, Brennan’s, New Orleans
- Melissa Donahue-Talmage, Sweet Melissa’s Café, Sanibel, FL
- Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery, New Orleans