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Here are the L.A. finalists for the 2018 James Beard Awards

Stephanie Breijo

A month’s passed and we’re pleased to report L.A.’s continued domination of the culinary award scene. A few weeks ago the James Beard Foundation announced its semifinalists for what’s dubbed “the Oscars of food”: the annual James Beard Awards, a lauded (and not-taken-lightly) celebration of the country’s best chefs, bakers, beverage programs, rising stars and more. 

But this morning, they announced the nominees. This year the L.A. area took a whopping 24 spots on the semifinalist list, and we’re thrilled to share that many of them made it to the final round.

These talented chefs (and even a local cookbook) are all in the running for the 2018 JBAs; the winners will be announced during the James Beard Awards ceremony on Monday, May 7, in Chicago. Until then, use this list as a guide to a few must-hit meals:

Best New Restaurant 
A restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award will be given that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

Felix Trattoria


Outstanding Pastry Chef
A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

Margarita Manzke of République

Outstanding Restaurateur
A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Candidates must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.

Caroline Styne of the Lucques Group (Lucques, a.o.c., Tavern and others) 

Outstanding Wine Program
A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine.


Rising Star Chef of the Year
A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Miles Thompson of Michael’s

Best Chef: West

Michael Cimarusti of Providence

Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon

Jessica Koslow of Sqirl

Travis Lett of Gjelina

The foundation also recognized Jeremy Fox and Noah Galuten’s On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen cookbook in the "Restaurant and Professional" category, as well as KCET’s The Migrant Kitchen in the "Television Program, on Location" category. The winners of these media categories will be announced on April 27.

And while we can't fully claim the compassionate and illustrious José Andrés entirely as our own, the chef-restaurateur behind Beverly Hills' The Bazaar and the freshly-opened Somni (formerly SAAM) just took home the award for 2018's "Humanitarian of the Year."

Find the full list of finalists here. Congratulations to the nominees—we’re pulling for you.

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