The 2016 James Beard Awards semifinalist list came out this morning, and we could have sworn we woke up in 2015. There were all the familiar names: Suzanne Goin, The Varnish, Margarita Manzke, Josef Centeno, Providence, Ludo Lefebvre. These chefs and restaurants are all deserving of their nominations, sure, but it's time the James Beard Foundation took a better, more updated look at our culinary scene (though we have to say, the inclusion of Baroo is both surprising and exciting). And with all of the fantastic bars that have come out in the past year, LA's single bar nomination is a bit of a slap in the face. What about Julian Cox's the Fiscal Agent? I guess we'll have to wait for next year.
In the meantime, the 2016 JBA semifinalists are:
Outstanding Bar Program: The Varnish
Outstanding Chef: Suzanne Goin (Lucques)
Outstanding Restaurant: A.O.C., Providence
Outstanding Service: SAAM at the Bazaar by José Andrés
Outstanding Wine Program: Spago
Rising Star Chef of the Year: Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer (Madcapra)
Best Chef (West): Josef Centeno (Orsa & Winston), Michael Cimarusti (Providence), Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon), Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec), Travis Lett (Gjelina), Ori Menashe (Bestia), Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal), Kris Yenbamroong (Night + Market)
For a complete list of semifinalists, check out the list here. Stay tuned for the final nominees list to be released on March 15.