The James Beard Foundation has announced its annual list of restaurant and chef award semifinalists in advance of its 29th-annual awards ceremony, held in Chicago on May 6. And chef Jose Salazar is among the nominees for Best Chef in the Great Lakes region (which encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio). Salazar, who was also nominated in 2016, 2017 and 2018, is the only chef from Cincinnati up for the award.
Best Chef nominees are those who "set high culinary standards and also demonstrate integrity and admirable leadership skills." Also nominated within the Great Lakes region are:
- Thai Dang and Danielle Dang, HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen, Chicago
- Diana Dávila, Mi Tocaya Antojería, Chicago
- Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chicago
- Norberto Garita, El Barzon, Detroit
- Jason Hammel, Lula Café, Chicago
- Brian Jupiter, Frontier, Chicago
- Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, Parachute, Chicago
- Anthony Lombardo, SheWolf, Detroit
- Abbi Merriss, Bluebeard, Indianapolis
- Ethan Pikas, Cellar Door Provisions, Chicago
- David Posey and Anna Posey, Elske, Chicago
- Iliana Regan, Kitsune, Chicago
- James Rigato, Mabel Gray, Hazel Park, MI
- Noah Sandoval, Oriole, Chicago
- Steven Oakley, Oakleys Bistro, Indianapolis
- Genevieve Vang, Bangkok 96, Dearborn, MI
- Jill Vedaa, Salt, Lakewood, OH
- Kate Williams, Lady of the House, Detroit
- Lee Wolen, Boka, Chicago
The James Beard Foundation recognizes chefs and restaurants across 10 different regions — Great Lakes, Mid Atlantic, Midwest, New York City, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast, Southwest and West — and in categories like Best New Restaurant, Outstanding Baker, Outstanding Bar Program, etc. Each year, the James Beard Foundation holds an open call for entries and combines that input with the input of 250 panelists from across the country, all of which is then reviewed by the "Restaurant and Chef Committee" to determine the eligibility and regional representation of each nominee.
More voting details: "The list of semifinalists is then voted on by more than 600 judges from across the country to determine the final nominees in each category. The same group of judges, which comprises leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Award winners, then votes on the nominees to select the winners. Tabulations to determine the nominees and winners are done by independent auditors Lutz & Carr. The governing Awards committee, board of trustees, and staff of the James Beard Foundation do not vote, and the results are kept confidential until the presentation of winners in May."
See the full list of semifinalists in other categories here.