Food: it's my joie de vivre! My raison d'etre! I am a foodie and I'm not afraid to shout it loudly from the rooftops! It is my love of food and fine cuisine that led me to learning about the James Beard awards.

The James Beard Foundation has just announced semi-finalist nominees for their prestigious annual awards. This award is the most prestigious one that a restaurant, chef, baker, bar program, hospitality, pastry chef, restaurateur, wine producer or rising star chef can hope to win.

Sadly, there are NO Central Washington nominees. It breaks my heart that our superb restaurants, chefs and wine producers got completely overlooked this year, just because we don't live a "big city". How rude!

At least there are these seventeen Washington state restaurants, chefs, bakers, and wine producers who DID make the cut in several categories!

Here are our proud state nominees for the 30th annual James Beard Award:

Best New Restaurant:


  • Il Nido

Outstanding Baker:


  • Matt Tinder from Saboteur Bakery

Outstanding Chef:


  • Holly Smith from Cafe Juanita

Outstanding Hospitality:


  • Canlis

Outstanding Wine Program:

  • L'Oursin

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer:


  • Steve Luke

Rising Chef of the Year:


  • Liz Kenyon, from Rupee Bar
  • Shota Nakajima from Adana

Best Chef: Northwest & Pacific (AK, HI, OR, WA)

Orcas Island:

  • Jay Blackinton, Hogstone's Wood Oven


  • Chera Amlag, Hood Famous Cafe + Bar
  • Logan Cox, Homer
  • Sun Hong, By Tae
  • Mitch Mayers, Sawyer
  • Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi
  • Aaron Verzosa, Archipelago
  • Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule


  • Chad White, Zona Blanca

The James Beard award winners will be announced in Chicago on May 4, 2020.

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