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
- Matt Tinder, Saboteur Bakery (Bremerton, WA)
- Holly Smith, Cafe Juanita (Kirkland, WA)
Outstanding Wine Program
Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer
- Steve Luke, Cloudburst Brewing
Rising Star Chef of the Year
Best Chef: Northwest & Pacific (AK, HI, OR, WA)
- Chera Amlag, Hood Famous Cafe and Bar
- Jay Blackinton, Hogstone’s Wood Oven (Orcas Island, WA)
- Logan Cox, Homer
- Sun Hong, By Tae
- Mitch Mayers, Sawyer
- Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi
- Aaron Verzosa, Archipelago
- Chad White, Zona Blanca (Spokane, WA)
- Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.