Parachute, Oriole lead the Chicago pack for 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist nominations

In the category of best chef Great Lakes region, Chicago once again dominated the list of semifinalists, this year with nine nominations.

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Sun-Times Media

The James BeardFoundation on Wednesday announced the list of semifinalists for its 2022 awards honoring the best of the best in the culinary world across the country.

Sixteen Chicago chefs, restaurants and/or bars are among this year’s list of nationwide nominees for the prestigious awards, nicknamed “the Oscars of the culinary world.”

Two Chicago restaurants —Parachute and Oriole —are among the semifinalists in the highly coveted outstanding restaurant category.

In the category of best chef Great Lakes region, Chicago once again dominated the list of semifinalists, this year with nine nominations.

Here are the Chicago nominees (and the categories as defined by the James Beard Foundation):

Outstanding Restaurant: “A restaurant that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations while contributing positively to its broader community. Must have been in business for five or more consecutive years, not including any time closed due to the pandemic.”

  • Parachute
  • Oriole

Outstanding Chef

  • Jason Vincent, Giant, Chicago

Best New Restaurant: “A restaurant opened in 2020 or 2021 that already demonstrates excellence in cuisine and hospitality and seems likely to make a significant impact in years to come.”

  • Kasama

Outstanding Pastry Chef: “A pastry chef or a chef who makes desserts, pastries, or breads served as part of a meal. Candidate demonstrates exceptional skills and can be affiliated with any food business and does not need a brick-and-mortar presence. Must have been working as a pastry chef or chef who makes desserts for the past three years.”

  • Shannah Primiano, Porto

Outstanding Baker: “A baker of breads, pastries, or desserts who displays exceptional skill. Must consistently sell goods directly to the public, but does not need a brick-and-mortar presence and must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past three years.”

  • Maya-Camille Broussard, Justice of the Pies

Outstanding Bar Program

A restaurant or bar that demonstrates exceptional care and skill in the selection, preparation, and serving of cocktails, spirits, and/or beer. Makes efforts to foster a diverse portfolio of brands and team members.

  • Nobody’s Darling

Best Chef: Great Lakes Region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio)

  • RodolfoCuadros, Amaru and Bloom Plant Based Kitchen
  • Diana Dávila Boldin, Mi Tocaya Antojería
  • Paul Fehribach, Big Jones
  • Jason Hammel, Lula Cafe
  • Dave Park, Jeong
  • Darnell Reed, Luella’s Southern Kitchen
  • Noah Sandoval, Oriole
  • John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, Smyth
  • Erick Williams, Virtue Restaurant & Bar

Finalists in all categories as well as this year’s honorees for Leadership, Lifetime Achievement, and Humanitarian of the Year, will be announced on March 16.

The restaurant and chef award winners will be announced June 13 in a gala event at the Lyric Opera House hosted by Kwame Onwuachi, actor/chef and executive producer at Food & Wine Magazine. Chicago has been hosting the awards since 2015. Awards were not presented in 2020 and 2021 due to the shutdown of restaurants amid the pandemic. Instead, an online ceremony last year celebrated past winners, the nation’s culinary community and the foundation’s new commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity.

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