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Here Are NYC’s 2022 James Beard Award Semifinalists

Dhamaka and Ursula made the cut

An overview shot of various Indian dishes in colorful plates at the restaurant Dhamaka.
Dishes from Dhamaka, a semifinalist in the best new restaurant category.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

Restaurant award season is once again underway, and the James Beard Foundation is kicking things off today with its list of semifinalists for this year’s annual food awards. The esteemed awards, often referred to as the Oscars of the food industry, return following two canceled award seasons and a public reckoning that resulted in several nominees withdrawing from the process in 2020. This year’s awards claim to be different.

The Foundation’s semifinalists announcement is essentially the longer list that kicks off a busy season of awards. Next comes a slimmer category of finalists, released in March, followed by an announcement of award winners in each category at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago on June 13.

This year’s nominees reflect a wave of changes at the 31-year-old organization. The Foundation made the historic decision to cancel its awards for 2020 and 2021, citing the impact of restaurants on the coronavirus pandemic. Following the announcement, the New York Times reported that the decision was made in part because there was not a single Black chef among the winners in 23 categories.

Following an internal audit, the Foundation aimed to be more inclusive by widening the criteria for its judges and pledging that half of its committee members will be people of color by 2023. This first wave of nominees nods to that goal with up and coming chefs, like Calvin Eng of Cantonese American restaurant Bonnie’s, and Shenarri Freeman of Southern-leaning vegan restaurant Cadence.

Here’s who made the cut from NYC, New York state, and New Jersey:

Best New Restaurant

  • Dhamaka
  • Gage & Tollner
  • Kimika
  • Ursula

Outstanding Baker

  • Louis Volle, Lodi

Outstanding Bar Program

  • Llama San

Outstanding Chef

  • Alex Raij and Eder Montero, La Vara
  • Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, Don Angie

Outstanding Hospitality

  • Lil’ Deb’s Oasis (Hudson, New York)
  • Steve and Cookie’s (Margate, New Jersey)
  • Sylvia’s Restaurant

Outstanding Pastry Chef

  • Camari Mick, The Musket Room
  • Caroline Schiff, Gage & Tollner

Outstanding Restaurant

  • Di Fara Pizza
  • La Morada

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • Ravi DeRossi, Overthrow Hospitality (Avant Garden, Cadence, Ladybird, and others)
  • Marc Meyer, Vicki Freeman, and Chris Paraskevaides, Bowery Group (Shuka, Shukette, Vic’s, and others)

Outstanding Wine Program

  • The Four Horsemen
  • Frenchette

Emerging Chef

  • Calvin Eng, Bonnie’s
  • Shenarri Freeman, Cadence

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

  • Joey Baldino, Zeppoli (Collingswood, New Jersey)
  • Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, Canal House Station (Milford, New Jersey)
  • Wei Lu, China Chalet (Florham Park, New Jersey)

Best Chef: New York State

  • Einat Admony, Balaboosta
  • Mary Attea, The Musket Room
  • Albert and Malenda Bartley, Top Taste (Kingston, New York)
  • Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy
  • Nick Curtola, The Four Horsemen
  • Eric Gao, O Mandarin (Hartsdale and Hicksville, New York)
  • JJ Johnson, Fieldtrip
  • Gabe McMackin, Troutbeck (Amenia, New York)
  • Helen Nguyen, Saigon Social
  • Ayesha Nurdjaja, Shuka
  • Chintan Pandya, Dhamaka
  • Kyo Pang, Kopitiam
  • Junghyun Park, Atomix
  • Carla Perez-Gallardo and Hannah Black, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis (Hudson, New York)
  • Erik Ramirez, Llama Inn
  • Romeo Regalli, Ras Plant Based
  • Irwin Sánchez, Under the Volcano
  • Bryce Shuman, Sweetbriar
  • Hillary Sterling, Ci Siamo
  • Dale Talde, Goosefeather (Tarrytown, New York)

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards.