The James Beard Award "long list" is out, and while it hardly guarantees any more Bay Area love than the awards saw fit to dole out last year (which was almost none), there are at least a dozen local chefs and restaurants in contention for shortlisting.
The nominations process at the James Beard Awards is a bit opaque, and it always involves a semifinalist stage in which some 20 contenders are named in every category. These lists will be pared down to about five per category in the coming months, and the "Oscars of the food world" will then take place on June 10 in Chicago.
Last year's list of finalists was very light on Bay Area honorees, and in the category of Best New Restaurant, there was but a single West Coast nominee, Kann in Portland — which went on to win the prize. When the awards were announced last spring, the Bay Area was shut out of every major category.
This time around, half of the long list for Best Chef: California is from the Bay — last year saw four out of five finalists come from SoCal. And bucking with tradition at the Beard Awards, previous nominees who didn't win aren't getting automatic rollovers, so SingleThread's Kyle and Katina Connaughton aren't on this year's long list.
Daly City's venerable Koi Palace appears for the first time in the Outstanding Restaurant category, but it's oddly the only Bay Area entry in that 20-member semifinalist list. Not a single local restaurant owner makes the Outstanding Restaurateur list this year, and Sylvan Mishima Brackett is the sole Bay Area chef in the Outstanding Chef category.
In the New Restaurant category we have Kiln in San Francisco — the new Hayes Valley restaurant from former Sons & Daughters chef John Wesley and General Manager Julianna Yang — and Chez Noir down in Carmel.
Emily Lim of Dabao Singapore — a delivery-only and catering outfit — is the sole SF nominee to make the long list for Emerging Chef. And former Tartine baker Kristina Costa got a long-list nod for her pastry work at Loquat — the Hayes Valley bakery-cafe that took over the former 20th Century Cafe space in late 2022.
Pacific Cocktail Haven made the list in the Outstanding Bar category. And while Lazy Bear's spot in the Outstanding Wine and Beverage Program category went to The Morris this year, Lazy Bear was long-listed in the Outstanding Hospitality program category instead.
See the full list of Bay Area semifinalists below, and the complete national list is here (it's long). The James Beard Foundation will be announcing the finalists on April 3.
Outstanding Chef (presented by Hilton)
- Sylvan Mishima Brackett, Rintaro, San Francisco, CA
Outstanding Restaurant (presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water)
- Koi Palace, Daly City, CA
Emerging Chef (presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Mineral Water)
- Emily Lim, Dabao Singapore, San Francisco, CA
Best New Restaurant
- Chez Noir, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
- Kiln, San Francisco, CA
Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker
- Kristina Costa, Loquat, San Francisco, CA
Outstanding Hospitality (presented by American Airlines)
- Lazy Bear, San Francisco, CA
Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program
- The Morris, San Francisco, CA
- Pacific Cocktail Haven, San Francisco, CA
Best Chef: California
- C-Y Chia and Shane Stanbridge, Lion Dance Cafe, Oakland, CA
- Geoff Davis, Burdell, Oakland, CA
- Azalina Eusope, Azalina’s, San Francisco, CA
- Rogelio Garcia, Auro, Calistoga, CA
- Srijith “Sri” Gopinathan, Copra, San Francisco, CA
- Jeong-In Hwang, San Ho Won, San Francisco, CA
- Kristina Liedags Compton, Hilda and Jesse, San Francisco, CA
- Buu “Billy” Ngo, Kru, Sacramento, CA
- Laura Ozyilmaz and Sayat Ozyilmaz, Dalida, San Francisco, CA
- Finn Stern, Daytrip, Oakland, CA