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Here Are Seattle’s 2020 James Beard Award Semifinalists

Il Nido, Hood Famous’s Chera Amlag, Cafe Juanita’s Holly Smith, and By Tae’s Sun Hong are among those getting nods

Closeup of bucatini with cacio e pepe and cauliflower at Il Nido in a white bowl.
Il Nido is a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant.
Il Nido/Instagram

The semifinalists for the 2020 James Beard Foundation awards were announced this morning and the Seattle area was well represented. Among the restaurants and chefs in the running for the prestigious prize in various categories are Il Nido (Mike Easton’s West Seattle Italian destination), Holly Smith from the longtime Kirkland fine-dining mainstay Cafe Juanita, and several up-and-coming young chefs that have made their mark on the scene in recent years. Those include quite a few newcomers to the James Beard Award semifinalist list, such as Chera Amlag from Hood Famous Cafe and Bar, Rupee Bar’s Liz Kenyon, By Tae’s Sun Hong, and Aaron Verzosa from the acclaimed Filipino restaurant, Archipelago.

This “long list” will drop down to five finalist nominees per category, to be announced on Wednesday, March 25 from Philadelphia. Winners will be announced during the James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago on May 4, where the previously announced six America’s Classics winners (including Seattle’s own Oriental Mart) will also be acknowledged.

View the full semifinalist list over here; meanwhile, here are the Seattle and Washington state names who are in the running.

Best New Restaurant

Outstanding Baker

Outstanding Chef

Outstanding Hospitality

Outstanding Wine Program

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Best Chef: Northwest & Pacific (AK, HI, OR, WA)

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.