10 Chicago restaurants, restaurateurs among James Beard Award finalists for 2017
Here are the Chicago chefs, restaurants and restarateurs who are finalists in the 2017 James Beard awards.
The James Beard Awards, the most prestigious award show of the culinary world, is slated to return to Chicago on May 1. After teasing us with a surprisingly robust group of semifinalists back in February, the James Beard Foundation on Wednesday finally released the list of finalists. Nine Chicago restaurants and one restaurant group made the final cut.
Considering the high number of semifinalists and the unprecedented number of Chicago chefs up for awards last year, this year’s list can’t help but feel ever so slightly disappointing. Perhaps we’re being greedy. Plus, there is some good news in the list.
After years of being nominated for outstanding service, Topolobampo is nominated for outstanding restaurant. Though it’s the first time the restaurant has been up for the award, owner Rick Bayless won the award back in 2007 for Frontera Grill.
Another first-time nominee is Greg Wade of Publican Quality Bread, who is nominated for outstanding baker.
And for the second year in a row, Chicago nabbed all five of the best chef: Great Lakes category slots. Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde) and Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark (Parachute) are nominated for the first time, while Abraham Conlon (Fat Rice) and Lee Wolen (Boka) are up for the second time. For the third straight year, Erling Wu-Bower (Nico Osteria) is nominated, though he recently announced that he’s planning to leave to open a new restaurant.
There were a couple of other repeats from last year. Jenner Tomaska is once again nominated for outstanding restaurant for his work at Next. Also up for the second year in a row, Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of Boka Restaurant Group are nominated for outstanding restaurateur.
Boehm and Katz should also be proud that AvroKO, who designed their restaurant, Momotaro, is up for best restaurant design in the over-76-seat category.
The ceremony will take place, for the third time, in Chicago on May 1 at the Lyric Opera. The James Beard Awards will be hosted in Chicago for at least the next three years.
The James Beard Foundation also announced the finalists for media awards. Steve Dolinsky is nominated for best TV segment for his work as the Hungry Hound on ABC 7 Chicago. The media awards will take place April 25 in New York and will be hosted by Andrew Zimmern.