One month’s passed since the James Beard Foundation announced the chefs, restaurants and bar program 2019 semifinalists for the country's "Oscars of food" awards ceremony, and this morning, L.A. is one step closer to (hopefully) taking those medals home. The annual James Beard Awards, a lauded (and not-taken-lightly) celebration of the country’s best chefs, bakers, beverage programs, rising stars and food writers, is now in its final round—this morning, the foundation announced this year's nominees.
When it comes to 2019's media nominees, L.A. is everywhere. KCRW's Good Food received a media nomination for their episode honoring the late and singular critic Jonathan Gold, who is posthumously nominated for a Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award. (Also up for this award is Bill Addison, one of two current Los Angeles Times food critics, for his reviews in Eater.) Anthony Bourdain: Explore Parts Unknown also garnered a media nod for its web miniseries Little Los Angeles, wherein Bourdain dove into neighborhood enclaves such as Little Ethiopia and Little Guatemala. The beautiful longread "A Kingdom from Dust," from the California Sunday Magazine, is in the running for both Feature Reporting and M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing awards for its delve into California's farmers and how crops and orchards can survive our state's historic droughts.
And we can't claim them as solely-L.A. based, but the Proprietors team of Alex Day, Nick Fauchald and David Kaplan—behind local spots like the Normandie Club—are up for an award for last year's gorgeous book Cocktail Codex (written with, we should note, an assist from Proprietors' Devon Tarby). The documentary Funke, focused on Felix chef Evan Funke, also garnered a nomination, as did a Dominique Ansel-led session on French pastry for the popular video-course series MasterClass.
As to the chefs, here's who's in the running for the 2019 JBAs. Nearly half of L.A.'s semifinalists dropped off in this round, but we've still got a strong showing, and we wish them all success. The winners will be announced during the James Beard Awards ceremony on Monday, May 6, in Chicago. Until then, use this list as a guide to a few must-hit meals:
Best New Restaurant
A restaurant opened in 2018 that already demonstrates excellence in cuisine and hospitality, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.
Outstanding Pastry Chef
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.
Margarita Manzke of République
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.
Rising Star Chef of the Year
A chef age 30 or younger who displays exceptional talent, character and leadership ability, and who is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.
Jonathan Yao of Kato
Best Chef: West
(A category that encompasses California, Hawaii and Nevada)
Michael Cimarusti of Providence
Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon
Jessica Koslow of Sqirl
Travis Lett of Gjelina
Check out the full list of finalists here. The winners will be named during the annual James Beard Awards on Monday, May 6, in Chicago. The 2019 Media Awards will take place on Friday, April 26, in New York City.