Three controversy-filled weeks after the James Beard Foundation named its restaurant and chef award semifinalists for 2022, the organization has now announced the list of finalists for its slew of headline-grabbing awards. In New York City, multiple restaurateurs and chefs made the shortlist, including Bonnie’s chef Calvin Eng and Gage & Tollner’s pastry chef Caroline Schiff. The final winners will be announced in an awards ceremony at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago on June 13.
This is the first time that the James Beard Foundation has rebooted its awards program since the onset of the pandemic two years ago. In that time, the organization underwent a reckoning over the lack of diversity within the awards process — the New York Times reported that there were no Black award-winners slated for the canceled 2020 season — and promised to be more inclusive.
More recently, after the 2022 semifinalist list was announced in late February, the foundation was once again engulfed in controversy. It removed multiple chefs from the list who are no longer working at the restaurants where they were recognized, added one chef post-publication who was left off due to a vague “clerical error,” and named one Minnesotan restaurateur to the “Outstanding Restaurateur” long list who paid out over $230,000 in a legal settlement in 2021 over worker allegations of unpaid wages, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Still, the awards remain a coveted industry nod for chefs and restaurateurs alike. Here’s who made the finalist cut from NYC, New York state, and New Jersey:
Best New Restaurant
- Sylvia’s Restaurant
Outstanding Pastry Chef
- Caroline Schiff, Gage & Tollner
Outstanding Wine Program
- The Four Horsemen
- Calvin Eng, Bonnie’s
Best Chef: New York State
- Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy
- JJ Johnson, Fieldtrip
- Ayesha Nurdjaja, Shuka
- Chintan Pandya, Dhamaka
- Junghyun Park, Atomix
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards.