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Latest James Beard Award Winners: The Ones to Learn From

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If you are a restaurant owner or another professional in the culinary field who wants to get this great recognition, it’s important to stay informed. That’s why we want to look into the details of each popular winner and see what you can learn from them. Staying at the top is not easy in the hospitality industry and you should strive for constant improvement.

Receiving recognition the like James Beard Award or a Michelin Star can send your business way ahead of the competition. These awards will bring in more customers who would like to experience your excellence for themselves. 

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The Awards Given by the James Beard Foundation

As already mentioned, the James Beard Award winners are people and businesses from the culinary industry, but they are not only chefs and restaurants. There are 23 different awards given by the James Beard Foundation each year. This allows you to participate each year and earn one of these awards. 

Here’s the full list of the recognition different James Beard Award winners can get: 

  • Outstanding Chef
  • Outstanding Restaurant
  • Best New Restaurant
  • Outstanding Restaurateur  
  •  Emerging Chef
  • Outstanding Bakery
  • Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker  
  • Outstanding Hospitality
  • Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program  
  • Outstanding Bar
  • Leadership Awards 
  • Humanitarian of the Year Award 
  • Lifetime Achievement Award

The Best Chef awards are given by region. They are as follows: 

  • Best Chef: California 
  • Best Chef: Great Lakes - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio
  • Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic - Washington, DC, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia  
  • Best Chef: Midwest - Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin
  • Best Chef: Mountain - Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming
  • Best Chef: New York State  
  • Best Chef: Northeast - Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
  • Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific - Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington
  • Best Chef: Southeast - Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia
  • Best Chef: South - Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico
  • Best Chef: Southwest - Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma
  • Best Chef: Texas  
Key Takeaway: James Beard Award winners are recognized in 23 different categories. Winning in any of the categories is a great honor and gives amazing opportunities for growing your business and customer base.

600 professionals in the culinary industry and the previous years’ James Beard Award winners evaluate all of the contestants. Getting nominated for the awards is different for each category. The chefs, restauranteurs, and leadership awards are won by contestants nominated by other people in the industry. 

The culinary writers and broadcast media awards are won by people who have submitted their work and have paid an entry fee. The submissions for the Open Call for Recommendations and the Open Call for people in the media open in October. The entries and nominations are collected until the end of December. 

A list of all the entries is then sent for the first round of voting. The judges grade individually each participant. A new list is created once the votes are in and then it’s time for the final round of votes. The awards are given at a James Beard Award gala in June. 

Previous Year James Beard Award Winners

The James Beard Awards are some of the best in the restaurant industry. They were established back in 1991 and since then, they have only grown in popularity. It’s a great honor for any chef or restauranteur to receive this award. The same goes for writers and media in the culinary industry. 

Being among the James Beard Award winners will help any restaurant business grow tremendously. People come from all over the country and even the world to try the food at restaurants with Michelin Stars, as well as those who won a James Beard Award. So even if you don’t win one year, don’t get discouraged. Work with your kitchen staff and prepare for next year’s awards!

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2023 James Beard Award Winners from Each Category

Here’s the full list of the James Beard Award winners for 2023 in all categories: 

  • Outstanding Chef - Rob Rubba, Oyster Oyster, based in Washington, D.C.
  • Outstanding Restaurant - Friday Saturday Sunday, located in Philadelphia, PA
  • Best New Restaurant - Kann in Portland, OR
  • Outstanding Restaurateur - Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group including Fork, a.kitchen + bar, High Street Philly, and others. All in the Philadelphia, PA region.
  • Outstanding Hospitality - The Quarry in Monson, ME
  • Emerging Chef - Damarr Brown in Virtue, Chicago, IL
  • Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker - Margarita Manzke in République, Los Angeles, CA
  • Outstanding Bakery - Yoli Tortilleria, based in Kansas City, MO
  • Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program - Ototo, located in Los Angeles, CA
  • Outstanding Bar - Bar Leather Apron, located in Honolulu, HI
  • Best Chef: Midwest - Itaru Nagano and Andrew Kroeger, Fairchild, Madison, WI
  • Best Chef: Mountain - Kris Komori in KIN, located in Boise, ID
  • Best Chef: South - Natalia Vallejo from Cocina al Fondo, based in San Juan, PR
  • Best Chef: Northeast - Sherry Pocknett, the chef of Sly Fox Den Too. Based in Charlestown, RI
  • Best Chef: Southwest - Andrew Black from Grey Sweater, located in Oklahoma City, OK
  • Best Chef: Southeast - Terry Koval from The Deer and the Dove. Located in Decatur, GA
  • Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic -  Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon from Kalaya in Philadelphia, PA
  • Best Chef: New York State - Junghyun Park from Atomix, based in New York, NY
  • Best Chef: California - Justin Pichetrungsi from Anajak Thai, located in Sherman Oaks, CA
  • Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific - Vince Nguyen from Berlu in Portland, OR
  • Best Chef: Texas - Benchawan Jabthong Painter from Street to Kitchen in Houston, TX
  • Best Chef: Great Lakes - Tim Flores and Genie Kwon in Kasama, Chicago, IL
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Madhur Jaffrey CBE
  • Humanitarian of the Year - Olivia Watkins and Karen Washington

The Leadership Awards for 2023 given by the James Beard Foundation were received by a few individuals. They are: 

  • Jim Embry for his work with Sustainable Communities Network, Slow Food USA, and Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance
  • Valerie Horn for her work with CANE Kitchen, Cowan Community Center, and City of Whitesburg Farmers Market
  • Savonala “Savi” Horne for her leadership in Land Loss Prevention Project
  • Ira Wallace for her work with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
  • Rowen White for her work with Sierra Seeds

 The Emerging Leadership award went to The Burgerville Workers Union.

How Restaurant Owners Can Improve Their Chances of Becoming James Beard Award Winners

There are plenty of categories in the James Beard Awards where your restaurant business or chef skills can shine. You can get awarded for your incredible hospitality, as well as your top wine list and your impeccable beverage program. Bars can also get this great recognition.

If you strive to be among the James Beard Award winners in any of the categories we just mentioned, we know a way you can get ahead of your competition. Staying on top of your beverage inventory and building and maintaining an incredible wine list has never been easier! All you need is to use the software of BinWise that will help you save time and resources on managing your inventory and will aid you in perfecting your wine offers. 

With our platform, you will be able to curate your wine offers, order what you need digitally, and you will always have accurate information about your inventory, prices, and sales trends. If you want to learn more about it, all you have to do is book a demo with us!

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Frequently Asked Questions about James Beard Award Winners

Want to know more? Read the answers to these questions we commonly hear about the James Beard Award winners. 

How Are James Beard Award Winners Selected?

James Beard Award winners are selected through a multi-step process. Initially, individuals and establishments are nominated by a panel of industry professionals and past James Beard Award winners. Finalists are then chosen from the nominees by a larger group of judges, consisting of culinary professionals, food writers, and journalists. The winners are ultimately selected by vote.

What Criteria Are Used to Determine James Beard Award Winners?

The criteria for selecting James Beard Award winners vary depending on the specific category. However, common factors considered include culinary skill, creativity, innovation, consistency, service excellence, and overall contribution to the food and beverage industry.

How Do James Beard Award Winners Benefit From Receiving the Award?

Winning a James Beard Award can significantly elevate the profile and reputation of chefs, restaurants, and other culinary professionals. It can lead to increased visibility, media coverage, and prestige within the industry. This may translate to greater business opportunities and an increased customer base.

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