In its first round of nominations for 2023, the James Beard Foundation today announced the semifinalists for its annual Restaurant and Bar Awards, including several names from the Los Angeles area, which recognize chefs, bakers, restaurants and vets from hospitality throughout the country.
While some of the LA semifinalists are first-time nominees for the James Beard Foundation Awards, numerous 2023 names have previously appeared as semifinalists, some as many as eight times. March 29 will see if they advance to the nominee stage, and the winners, drawn from that list, will be announced at the annual awards ceremony on June 5 in Chicago.
As he was in 2022, Greg Dulan of South LA’s Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen, Dulan’s in Crenshaw and Dulanville is again a nominee in the Outstanding Restaurateur category, while Niki Nakayama of the Palms kaiseki institution n/naka and the new West Adams izakaya n. /soto, is for the eighth time a semi-finalist of Outstanding Chef.
Cassia, in Santa Monica, is a semifinalist in the Outstanding Restaurant category (its executive chef, Bryant Ng, was a finalist in last year’s awards). Another familiar name is Margarita Manzke, co-owner of La Brea’s République and also a 2022 finalist: Pretty much a fixture in the pastry category, this is Manzke’s eighth year as a pastry or bakery semifinalist or finalist. Meanwhile, heritage-focused Hollywood’s Friends & Family is a semifinalist in the new Outstanding Bakery category.
In celebration of the country’s new restaurants and talent, Rashida Holmes of vibrant Caribbean pop-up Bridgetown Roti is being considered for up-and-coming chef and modern Indian sports bar Pijja Palace in Silver Lake, as well as the innovative Korean American deli and restaurant Yangban Society. , in the Arts District, could be nominated in the best new restaurant category.
Several Los Angeles-area chefs are semifinalists for the statewide Best Chef category, including Rocio Camacho of Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen in Bell Gardens; Gilberto Cetina Jr. from South LA’s Holbox; El Hayato by Brandon Hayato Go of the Arts District, this year’s Los Angeles Times Best Restaurant; Andrew and Michelle Munoz of Moo’s Craft Barbecue in Lincoln Heights; Justin Pichettrungsi of Anajak Thai in Sherman Oaks, The Times Restaurant of the Year 2022; and Sarintip “Jazz” Singsanong of Thaitown’s Jitlada. A few chefs within a short drive from Los Angeles also made the California Top Chef semifinalist list, along with many from the Bay Area: Michael Reed of Anaheim’s Poppy & Seed; Carlos Salgado of Taco María in Costa Mesa; and Jonathan Bautista of the San Diego Kingfisher, all in the South; with Daisy Ryan of Bell’s of Los Alamos to the north.
Koreatown’s Here’s Looking at You, which closed due to the pandemic but surprisingly reopened in early 2022, is a hospitality semifinalist, and in recognition of beverage programs, Echo Park izakaya and sake bar Ototo are semifinalists in the wine and other beverage program category. Santa Monica’s Ester’s Wine Shop & Bar could be nominated for best bar.
The full list of semifinalists for the 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards can be found here.