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Here Are NYC’s 2023 James Beard Award Semifinalists

The nominees include the Michelin-starred Al Coro and Bed-Stuy’s Dept of Culture

A Black man wearing a black shirt and clear glasses uses tweezers to place a piece of food onto one of several plates lined up on a table.
Chef Ayo Balogun of Dept of Culture, a semifinalist in the best new restaurant category.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

And just like that — the James Beard Awards are back. The James Beard Foundation revealed on Wednesday its list of semifinalists for this year’s annual awards.

The semifinalist announcement is essentially the longer list of nominees that kicks off a busy season of awards. Next up is a pared-down list of finalists on March 29. Winners in each category will be announced at a ceremony in Chicago on June 5.

It’s the second year back for the esteemed awards, which remain a coveted industry nod for chefs and restaurateurs, and are sometimes referred to as the Oscars of the food industry. The Foundation canceled its awards seasons in 2020 and 2021 following a public reckoning that resulted in nominees withdrawing from the process. For the 2022 awards season, the Foundation conducted an extensive internal audit in an effort to make the awards more equitable; new categories have since been added to the mix, and the organization set a benchmark to have at least 50 percent of its committee members and judges be people of color by 2023.

New to the awards this year is the best bakery category, recognizing a “baker of breads, pastries, or desserts that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community.”

Here’s who made the cut in New York City and New York state:

Best New Restaurant

  • Al Coro
  • Dept of Culture
  • KRU
  • Stissing House (Pine Plains, New York)

Outstanding Chef

  • Eder Montero and Alex Raij, La Vara
  • Erik Ramirez, Llama Inn

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

  • Nora Faye Allen, Mel the Bakery
  • Camari Mick, the Musket Room

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • Sims and Kirsten Harlow Foster, Foster Supply Hospitality (the DeBruce, Arnold House Tavern, and Kenoza Hall)

Outstanding Restaurant

  • Veselka
  • Via Carota

Outstanding Bakery

  • She Wolf Bakery

Outstanding Bar

  • Dante
  • Harlem Hops

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

  • Waxlight Bar à Vin (Buffalo, New York)
  • Cote

Outstanding Hospitality

  • Lil’ Deb’s Oasis (Hudson, New York)
  • Melba’s

Emerging Chef

  • Telly Justice, HAGS
  • Charlie Mitchell, Clover Hill

Best Chef: New York State

  • Gerardo Alcaraz, Aldama
  • Nasim Alikhani, Sofreh
  • Mary Attea, the Musket Room
  • Giovanni Cervantes, Taqueria Ramírez
  • Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy
  • Calvin Eng, Bonnie’s
  • Shenarri Freeman, Cadence
  • Charles Gabriel, Charles Pan-Fried Chicken
  • Anthony Gonçalves, Kanopi (White Plains, New York)
  • Sol Han, Little Mad
  • JJ Johnson, Fieldtrip
  • Sohui Kim, Gage & Tollner
  • Shaina Loew-Banayan, Cafe Mutton (Hudson, New York)
  • Paolo Garcia Mendoza, Karenderya (Nyack, New York)
  • Ayesha Nurdjaja, Shukette
  • Junghyun Park, Atomix
  • Franco Sampogna, Frevo
  • Eric See, Ursula
  • Hillary Sterling, Ci Siamo
  • Sohail Zandi, Brushland Eating House (Bovina, New York)

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