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A sea of Chicago chefs among 2019 James Beard Award nominees

The James Beard Awards medallion. The awards recognize culinary excellence across the country and are considered "the "Academy Awards of the culinary world." | Courtesy James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Awards medallion. The awards recognize culinary excellence across the country and are considered "the "Academy Awards of the culinary world." | Courtesy James Beard Foundation

The nominees for the 2019 James Beard Awards, known as the “Oscars of the culinary world,”  were announced Wednesday morning during a live stream from Hugo’s restaurant in Houston, Texas.

Of note: Once again, it’s an all-Chicago faceoff in the category of best chef/Great Lakes region.  Grant Achatz and his Alinea team received a book awards nomination for their work, the massive, 400-plus pages recipe tome, “The Aviary Cocktail Book.” Chicago chef Bill Kim of Urbanbelly was nominated for his cookbook,”Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces.”

In all, Chicago’s renowned culinary world received 16 nominations.

In the categories of restaurants and chefs, Chicago nominees include:

 

Jason Hammel of Lula Cafe is nominated for a 2019 James Beard Award in the category of best chef/Great Lakes Region. | Jeff Marini Photo

Jason Hammel of Lula Cafe is nominated for a 2019 James Beard Award in the category of best chef/Great Lakes Region. | Jeff Marini Photo

Best chef, Great Lakes Region:

Diana Dávila, Mi Tocaya Antojería
Jason Hammel, Lula Café
Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute
David Posey and Anna Posey, Elske
Noah Sandoval, Oriole
Lee Wolen, Boka

Anna and David Posey of Elske. The duo are among the field of Chicago nominees for a 2019 James Beard Award in the category of best chef/Great Lakes Region. | Ji Suk Yi Photo

Rising star chef of the year:
Alisha Elenz, MFK

Outstanding restaurateur:
Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm, Boka Restaurant Group, Chicago (Boka, Girl & the Goat, Momotaro, and others)

Outstanding baker:
Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread

Outstanding pastry chef:
Meg Galus, Boka

Outstanding bar program:
Lost Lake

Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano at Spiaggia. The restaurant is among the 2019 James Beard Award nominees for outstanding wine program. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times, FIle

Outstanding wine program:
Spiaggia

Oustanding restaurant design, 76 seats and over:
Land and Sea Dept., for Lonesome Rose
Parts and Labor Design, for Pacific Standard Time

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony gala May 6 at the Lyric Opera House of Chicago. Media award winners will be announced on April 26 in New York City.

Chicago’s culinary community had garnered 25 semifinalist chef/restaurant nominations this year, which were announced in February.

In December, it was announced that the awards ceremony will continue to be presented in Chicago through 2027. The news extends the partnership between the City of Chicago and the James Beard Foundation (JBF) past its current agreement end date of 2021. The awards ceremony moved from New York to Chicago in 2015.

For the complete list of nominees, information and tickets to this year’s awards ceremony in Chicago, visit jamesbeard.org/awards.