We know the Academy Awards have come and gone, but for the foodies in this town, awards season has only just begun! The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for their annual awards and this year 22 local establishments were represented.
The DMV was represented in every category except for Outstanding Baker, which local Mark Furstenberg won in 2017. Though, some of the list felt like Déjà vu (hello Columbia Room for Outstanding Bar Program, Vikram and Fabio for Outstanding Chef, Jaleo and Komi for Outstanding Restaurant and Marcel's for Outstanding Service), we also had some new names to squeal in excitement for, such as Pichet Ong from Brothers and Sisters, Ruth Gresser from Pizzeria Paradiso and Kwame Onwuachi from Kith and Kin.
Falls Church's Peking Gourmet Inn also joined veteran Marcel's in contention for Outstanding Service, Tail Up Goat will be representing in the Outstanding Wine Program category (represented by Bourbon Steak last year) and Rutger de Vink (RdV Vineyards) landed a well-earned nod in the Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Producer category, where the local area did not have representation in last year's semifinals.
Kevin Tien, who was a finalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2018, has moved into the Best Chef (Mid-Atlantic) category this year, where he joins Amy Brandwein and Tom Cunanan who were both finalists in the category for the last two years. Erik Bruner-Yang (semifinalist in 2016 for Maketto and finalist in 2015 for Toki Underground), Jerome Grant, Haidar Karoum (semifinalist in 2009 and 2014 for Proof), Jon Sybert and Nobu Yamazaki (who was a semifinalist in 2017) round out the final local semifinalists in the Best Chef category.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the announcements is the notable absence of Ashok Bajaj who has been a semifinalist in the Outstanding Restaurateur category since 2008.
The finalists will be announced during a press conference at Hugo's in Houston on March 27 at 10 a.m. The winners will be revealed on May 6 at the 2019 James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago. So let's keep our fingers crossed and root hard for the home team here guys!
Take a look below at who the 22 semifinalists are in which categories.
Best New Restaurant
Outstanding Bar Program
Vikram Sunderam, Rasika
Fabio Trabocchi, Fiola
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Pichet Ong, Brothers and Sisters
Ruth Gresser, (Pizzeria Paradiso, Birreria Paradiso)
Peking Gourmet Inn
Outstanding Wine Program
Tail Up Goat
Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Producer
Rutger de Vink, RdV Vineyards
Rising Star Chef of the Year
Kwame Onwuachi, Kith and Kin
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Amy Brandwein, Centrolina
Erik Bruner-Yang, Brothers and Sisters
Tom Cunanan, Bad Saint
Jerome Grant, Sweet Home Café
Haidar Karoum, Chloë
Jon Sybert, Tail Up Goat
Kevin Tien, Himitsu
Nobu Yamazaki, Sushi Taro
You can see the full list of semifinalists here. And be sure to click through the gallery above for a sneak peek at what a few of these restaurants/chefs have to offer!