The James Beard Foundation announced the nominees for the 2020 James Beard Awards presented by Capital One. The nominees were announced monday on what would have been the 30th Anniversary James Beard Awards in Chicago. Over the past few months COVID-19 has upended the restaurant community in every facet. During this time the Foundation has turned its attention to supporting the relief and rebuild efforts, postponing Awards activities to instead focus on the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund, which to date has disbursed more than $4 million to independent, locally owned restaurants around the country. After consultation with the chefs and restaurateurs across the country, the Foundation decided to announce the 2020 nominees and honorees, and set the dates for this year’s remaining Awards events, which recognize the work done in 2019.

The announcement was livestreamed via the Foundation’s Twitter account and co-hosted by VISIT PHILADELPHIA President and CEO Jeff Guaracino and Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. As the original nominee announcement was set to take place in Philadelphia, the Foundation shared the virtual stage with several others from the great city, including Mayor Jim Kenney,  Philadelphia’s Kalaya Thai Kitchen chef and owner, Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, and Jamila Robinson, 2020 Journalism Awards Committee Vice Chair and Food Editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer. David Whitaker, President & CEO of Choose Chicago, also joined virtually from the Awards’s host city of Chicago.

Nominees were announced in nearly 60 categories of the Foundation’s various awards programs, including Restaurant and Chef, Restaurant Design, and Media. A complete list of nominees can be found at the end of this release, as well as at

Additionally, the Foundation announced that they will forego hosting a physical ceremony for the 2020 Media Awards and instead will issue a press release on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 announcing the winners. Finally, Restaurant & Chef Award winners are now slated to be announced on Friday, September 25, 2020, from Chicago and they will be broadcast live via the James Beard Foundation’s  Twitter feed. Additional details on the September announcement, including format and location, are forthcoming.

“Some of the restaurants announced today are temporarily closed, some are operating in another form, such as take-out or meal relief efforts, whilst others have already announced that they will permanently close,” says Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach. “Today we acknowledge the accomplishments of all the people behind these restaurants, and the need for everyone to fight for this industry that employs 16 million people and is a vital part of American culture.”

2020 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Design Awards

75 Seats and Under

For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2017.


Project: HALL by o.d.o

Firms: Heliotrope Architects

Project: Rupee, Seattle

Firms: Spoonbill Watering Hole and Restaurant, Flywheel Co. and Vermillion Architects, LLC

Project: Spoonbill Watering Hole and Restaurant, Lafayette, LA

76 Seats and Over

For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2017.

Firms: Hacin + Associates

Project: Shore Leave, Boston

Firms: Ken Fulk Inc

Project: Swan & Bar Bevy, Miami

Firms: Klein Agency and ORA

Project: auburn, Los Angeles

Outstanding Design of Alternative Eating & Drinking Places

Eligible establishments include places where prepared food and/or beverages are served for consumption on premises (except in the case of food trucks or takeout counters) but not for markets, farm stands, food shops or groceries where ingredients are sold for preparation elsewhere. This category, added in 2019, recognizes that the nature of restaurants is changing, and food is sold and consumed in a variety of environments that do not necessarily qualify as traditional full-service restaurants.

Firms: Lori Chemla

Project: Carissa’s the Bakery, East Hampton, NY

Firms: Stonehill Taylor, MCR/Morse Development and Aaron Sciandra

Project: Connie, Queens, NY

Firms: Studio Dewberry and Workstead

Project: Citrus Club, Charleston, SC

Design Icon: Chez Panisse, Berkeley, CA

2020 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards

Best New Restaurant

A restaurant opened in the prior calendar year that already demonstrates excellence in cuisine and hospitality, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

Automatic Seafood & Oysters, Birmingham, AL

Demi, Minneapolis

Eem, Portland, OR

Fox & the Knife, Boston

Gado Gado, Portland, OR

Gianna, New Orleans

Kalaya, Philadelphia

Nightshade, Los Angeles

Pasjoli, Santa Monica, CA

Verjus, San Francisco

Outstanding Baker

A pastry chef or baker who demonstrates exceptional skill, integrity, and character in the preparation of desserts, pastries, or breads served in a retail bakery. Eligible candidates must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years. 

Graison Gill, Bellegarde Bakery, New Orleans

Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit, NYC

Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery, Cambridge, MA

Lisa Ludwinski, Sister Pie, Detroit

Avery Ruzicka, Manresa Bread, Los Gatos, CA

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.

Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston

Expatriate, Portland, OR

Kimball House, Decatur, GA

Lost Lake, Chicago

Trick Dog, San Francisco

Outstanding Chef (Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters)

A chef who sets high culinary standards and who has served as a positive example for other food professionals. Eligible candidates must have been working as a chef for the past five years.

David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA

Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco

Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

Missy Robbins, Lilia, NYC

Ana Sortun, Oleana, Cambridge, MA

Marc Vetri, Vetri Cucina, Philadelphia

Outstanding Hospitality (Presented by American Airlines)

A restaurant in operation for five or more years that demonstrates consistency and exceptional thoughtfulness in hospitality and service.

Brigtsen’s, New Orleans

Canlis, Seattle

Saison, San Francisco

Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco

Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI

Outstanding Pastry Chef (Presented by Lavazza)

A pastry chef or baker who demonstrates exceptional skill, integrity, and character in the preparation of desserts, pastries, or breads served in a restaurant. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

Lincoln Carson, Bon Temps, Los Angeles

Juan Contreras, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco

Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles

Diane Moua, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Natasha Pickowicz, Flora Bar, NYC

Miro Uskokovic, Gramercy Tavern, NYC

Outstanding Restaurant (Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water)

A restaurant that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, service, and operations. Eligible candidates must have been in business 10 or more consecutive years.

FIG, Charleston, SC

Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, CO

Jaleo, Washington, D.C.

Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix

Quince, San Francisco

Outstanding Restaurateur

A restaurateur who demonstrates creativity in entrepreneurship and integrity in restaurant operations. Eligible candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years and they must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.

Paul Bartolotta, The Bartolotta Restaurants, Milwaukee (Ristorante Bartolotta, Harbor House, Lake Park Bistro, and others)

Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer, JK Food Group, Boston (Little Donkey, Toro, Coppa)

JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline Restaurant, New Orleans

Alex Raij and Eder Montero, NYC (La Vara, Saint Julivert Fisherie, Txikito)

Jason Wang, Xi’an Famous Foods, NYC

Outstanding Wine Program

A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in wine service through a carefully considered wine list and a well-informed approach to helping customers choose and drink wine.

Bacchanal, New Orleans

Canard, Portland, OR


Miller Union, Atlanta

Night + Market Sahm, Venice, CA

Spiaggia, Chicago

Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Producer

A beer, wine, or spirits producer who demonstrates consistency and exceptional skill in his or her craft.

Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall, High Wire Distilling Co., Charleston, SC

Cathy Corison, Corison Winery, St. Helena, CA

Drew Kulsveen, Willett Distillery, Bardstown, KY

Todd Leopold and Scott Leopold, Leopold Bros., Denver

Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA

Rising Star Chef of the Year (Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water)

A chef age 30 or younger, born on or after January 1 in the year occurring thirty years prior to the award year in which such chef is to be considered for the award (e.g., January 1, 1976 for candidates to be considered in awards year 2006), who displays exceptional talent, character, and leadership ability, and who is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

Will Aghajanian and Liz Johnson, The Catbird Seat, Nashville

Irene Li, Mei Mei, Boston

Gaby Maeda, State Bird Provisions, San Francisco

Ashleigh Shanti, Benne on Eagle, Asheville, NC

Paola Velez, Kith/Kin, Washington, D.C.

Jon Yao, Kato, Los Angeles

Best Chefs (Presented by Capital One)

Chefs who set high culinary standards and also demonstrate integrity and admirable leadership skills in their respective regions. A nominee may be from any kind of dining establishment but must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region.

Best Chef: California

Jeremy Fox, Birdie G’s, Santa Monica, CA

Brandon Jew, Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco

Jessica Koslow, Sqirl, Los Angeles

Mourad Lahlou, Mourad, San Francisco

Joshua Skenes, Angler, San Francisco

Pim Techamuanvivit, Kin Khao, San Francisco

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)

Jason Hammel, Lula Cafe, Chicago

Gene Kato, Momotaro, Chicago

Noah Sandoval, Oriole, Chicago

John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, Smyth, Chicago

Erick Williams, Virtue, Chicago

Lee Wolen, Boka, Chicago

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C.

Nicholas Elmi, Laurel, Philadelphia

Rich Landau, Vedge, Philadelphia

Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa, Philadelphia

Jon Sybert, Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.

Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)

Steven Brown, Tilia, Minneapolis

Michael Corvino, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, Kansas City, MO

Michael Gallina, Vicia, St. Louis

Jamie Malone, Grand Café, Minneapolis

Christina Nguyen, Hai Hai, Minneapolis

Best Chef: Mountain (CO, ID, MT, UT, WY)

Carrie Baird, Bar Dough, Denver

Jen Castle and Blake Spalding, Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, Boulder, UT

Jeff Drew, Snake River Grill, Jackson, WY

Caroline Glover, Annette, Aurora, CO

Dana Rodriguez, Super Mega Bien, Denver

Kelly Whitaker, The Wolf’s Tailor, Denver

Best Chef: New York State

Sean Gray, Momofuku Ko, NYC

Brooks Headley, Superiority Burger, NYC

Junghyun Park, Atomix, NYC

Daniela Soto-Innes, ATLA, NYC

Alex Stupak, Empellón, NYC

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)

Vien Dobui, CÔNG TỬ BỘT, Portland, ME

Tiffani Faison, Orfano, Boston

Ben Jackson, Drifters Wife, Portland, ME

Krista Kern Desjarlais, The Purple House, North Yarmouth, ME

Greg Mitchell and Chad Conley, Palace Diner, Biddeford, ME

Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA

Best Chef: Northwest & Pacific (AK, HI, OR, WA)

Peter Cho, Han Oak, Portland, OR

Gregory Gourdet, Departure, Portland, OR

Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush, Senia, Honolulu

Katy Millard, Coquine, Portland, OR

Kristen Murray, MÅURICE, Portland, OR

Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, FL, LA, MS)

Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, PR

Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans

Michael Gulotta, Maypop, New Orleans

Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf, New Orleans

Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery, New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)

Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC

Cassidee Dabney, The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN

Cheetie Kumar, Garland, Raleigh, NC

Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis

Julia Sullivan, Henrietta Red, Nashville

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK)

Dan Krohmer, Other Mama, Las Vegas

Jonathan Perno, Campo at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM

Chrysa Robertson, Rancho Pinot, Scottsdale, AZ

Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café Gran Reserva, Phoenix

Jeff Smedstad, Elote Cafe, Sedona, AZ

James Trees, Esther’s Kitchen, Las Vegas

Best Chef: Texas

Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye, Austin

Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie, Austin

Anita Jaisinghani, Pondicheri, Houston

Steve McHugh, Cured, San Antonio

Trong Nguyen, Crawfish & Noodles, Houston

2020 Leadership Award Honorees

Phillip and Dorathy E. Barker, Co-Founders, Operation Spring Plant, Inc. (OSP)

Rosalinda Guillen, Executive Director, Community to Community Development (C2C)

Abiodun Henderson, Executive Director, The Come Up Project featuring Gangstas to Growers

Mark and Kerry Marhefka, Owners, Abundant Seafood

Caleb Zigas, Executive Director, La Cocina

Previously Announced Honorees

Humanitarian of the Year: Zero Foodprint

Lifetime Achievement: Jessica B. Harris

America’s Classics

Lassis Inn

Little Rock, AR

Owners: Elihue Washington Jr. and Maria Washington

Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth

Frankenmuth, MI

Owners: Al Zehnder, Susan Zehnder, and Martha Zehnder Shelton

Puritan Backroom

Manchester, NH

Owners: Arthur Pappas, Chris Pappas, and Eric Zink

Oriental Mart


Owners: Mila Apostol and Joy Apostol

El Taco de Mexico


Owner: Sasha Zanabria

Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que

Brownsville, TX

Owner: Armando Vera

Chef Profiles, Industry News