The semifinalists for the 2018 James Beard Foundation awards were announced Thursday morning and several Seattle chefs and restaurants made the cut. The awards, sometimes considered equivalent to the Oscars in the food world, are to be announced May 7 in Chicago. In mid-March, the names below will be whittled down to a smaller list of finalists.
By the numbers, it’s similar to 2017 — 20 Seattle or Washington semifinalists compared to 21 last year. There’s plenty of overlap: places like Canon and Wild Ginger get nods again in the same categories, while Canlis makes it onto the Outstanding Restaurant longlist, and Renee Erickson from steaky Bateau appears in the Outstanding Chef category. Only one new restaurant (Junebaby) gets a nomination, compared to two last year.
It’s also a more progressive list in terms of gender equality — while just one woman was named as a semifinalist last year, there’s five this time around, including Erickson, and Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita.
View the full semifinalist list over here; meanwhile, here are the Seattle and Washington state names who are in the running.
Best New Restaurant
- Junebaby, Seattle (open since April 2017)
- Evan Andres of Columbia City Bakery
Outstanding Bar Program
- Canon, Seattle
- Renee Erickson of Bateau, Seattle
- Blaine Wetzel of the Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington
- Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Washington
- Canlis, Seattle
- Angela and Ethan Stowell of Ethan Stowell Restaurants in Seattle (restaurants include Staple & Fancy, Tavolàta, and How to Cook a Wolf)
Outstanding Wine Program
- Wild Ginger, Seattle
Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional
- Dave Green of Skagit Valley Malting in Burlington, Washington
Rising Star Chef of the Year
- Shota Nakajima of Adana in Seattle
- Maximillian Petty of Eden Hill in Seattle
- Jay Blackinton of Hogstone’s Wood Oven and Aelder in Orcas Island, Washington
Best Chef: Northwest
- Eric Donnelly of Rockcreek in Seattle
- Edouardo Jordan of Salare in Seattle
- Taichi Kitamura of Sushi Kappo Tamura in Seattle
- Mark Schroder of Opus Co. in Seattle
- Mutsuko Soma of Kamonegi in Seattle
- Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi of Joule in Seattle
- Anna Vogel of Italia Trattoria in Spokane
There were no Seattle or Washington semifinalists for Outstanding Pastry Chef or Outstanding Service this year.