The James Beard Awards are kind of like the Oscars of food. And given this year’s ceremonies, they may even be a tad more exciting than the actual Oscars. Because while you probably have no intention of ever watching Green Book, you can (and should) sample the delicious food of the many nominees, a collection that represents the best chefs and restaurants in the country right now.
And luckily for us, five of those nominees are right here in Miami. Repping the 305 this year is Naomi Harris of Madruga Bakery for Outstanding Baker, Valerie Chang and Nando Chang of St. Roch’s Itamae for Rising Star Chef of the Year, the Surf Club for Best New Restaurant of the Year and both Niven Patel of Ghee Indian Kitchen and Brad Kilgore of Alter are up for Best Chef: South.
There are a couple nominees from Palm Beach as well: Clay Conley of Buccan and Lindsay Autry of Regional Kitchen and Public House are both up for Best Chef: South. And our local favorite Norman Van Aken is up for Outstanding Restaurant for his Orlando joint, Norman’s.
Naomi Harris and the Chang duo are both first-time nominees too, which is thrilling and—in our opinion—well deserved (Madruga has been at the top of our list of Miami’s best bakeries for some time now).
The categories will be narrowed down to five finalists on March 27 and winners will be announced May 6. Win or lose, the South Florida representation on this esteemed list is only good news for our very exciting dining scene. We’re proud of y’all. And sort of hungry now, too.
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