The best chefs, restauranteurs, bakers, and those representing wine and beverage servers, hospitality providers, and humanitarians working at giving back to their communities were in Chicago this last weekend for the 2023 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards, presented by Capital One and held at the historic Lyric Opera of Chicago.
The awards presentation was co-hosted by Eric Adjepong, chef, author, and host of Alex vs America; Esther Choi, chef and owner of mŏkbar and ms.yoo; Gail Simmons, author, producer, and Top Chef judge; and Andrew Zimmern, James Beard Award winner, TV personality, chef, writer, and social justice advocate. 1,500 guests were in attendance at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Built in 1929, with an outstanding Art Deco interior, it’s the second largest opera house in the U.S.
Additional presenters included Mashama Bailey, James Beard Award–winning chef and restaurateur, The Grey; Chris Bianco, James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur, Pizzeria Bianco; Monti Carlo, TV personality, food writer, and host of the Food Network’s Help My Yelp; Sarah Grueneberg, James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur, Monteverde; Tahiirah Habibi, sommelier, founder of The Hue Society, and James Beard Awards Committee member; Carla Hall, cookbook author, chef, and TV personality; Tanya Holland, chef, author, James Beard Foundation trustee, and Awards Committee Chair; and Erick Williams, James Beard Award-winning chef, and restaurateur, Virtue Restaurant; among others.
“Congratulations to the exceptional winners of this year’s Restaurant and Chef Awards—whose incredible achievements and dedication to culinary excellence have left an indelible mark on our industry,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation.
. “As we celebrate, it’s important to acknowledge the significant work that these accomplished restaurants and chefs have done to push American food culture forward—using their immense creativity, passion, and talent to create extraordinary experiences on behalf of others. Thanks to them, our food future is bright, indeed.”
“As we celebrate the second year of the new awards process, we were thrilled to witness the remarkable talent showcased by our 2023 nominees and winners, who represent the true diversity of gifted chefs and outstanding restaurants that exist across the industry,” said Holland. “I am deeply appreciative to the committee members for their thoughtful deliberations that were instrumental in recognizing and honoring some of the brightest and most innovative minds in our industry.”
“On behalf of the committee, we are excited for all of this year’s Restaurant and Chef Award winners,” said Adrian Miller, Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee Chair and Allecia Vermillion, Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee Vice-Chair. “We are thrilled to celebrate excellence exemplified by the quality and diverse restaurants and chefs who play a pivotal role in shaping our country’s vibrant culinary landscape.”
“As a chef, it is a privilege and an honor to co-host this year’s Restaurant and Chef Awards,” said Adjepong. “Thank you to the Beard Foundation for giving us this opportunity.”
“To play a key role in celebrating our fellow chefs and restaurateurs has been such a joy,” said Simmons.
“Congratulations to this year’s winners. Your work makes us proud to be a part of our country’s independent restaurant industry,” added Zimmern.
The voting process for all Restaurant and Chef Award categories can be found here, and the process and eligibility for each category can be found on the Awards’ policies and procedures page, as well as here. 2023 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award Winners.
The James Beard Awards, considered to be among the nation’s most prestigious honors, recognize exceptional talent in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive. Established in 1990, with the first ceremony taking place in 1991, the Restaurant and Chef Awards is one of five separate recognition programs for the Awards.
Rob Rubba, Oyster Oyster, Washington, D.C.
Outstanding Restaurant Presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water
Outstanding Restaurant Presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water
Friday Saturday Sunday, Philadelphia, PA
Best New Restaurant Presented by BentoBox
Kann, Portland, OR
Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group (Fork, a.kitchen + bar, High Street, and others), Philadelphia, PA
Emerging Chef Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Mineral Water
Damarr Brown, Virtue, Chicago, IL
Outstanding Bakery Presented by Guinness
Yoli Tortilleria, Kansas City, MO
Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker
Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles, CA
Outstanding Hospitality Presented by American Airlines
The Quarry, Monson, ME
Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program
OTOTO, Los Angeles, CA
Outstanding Bar Presented by Hilton
Bar Leather Apron, Honolulu, HI
Best Chefs Presented by Capital One (by region)
Best Chef: California
Justin Pichetrungsi, Anajak Thai, Sherman Oaks, CA
Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Tim Flores and Genie Kwon, Kasama, Chicago, IL
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, Kalaya, Philadelphia, PA
Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)
Itaru Nagano and Andrew Kroeger, Fairchild, Madison, WI
Best Chef: Mountain (CO, ID, MT, UT, WY)
Kris Komori, KIN, Boise, ID
Best Chef: New York State
Junghyun Park, Atomix, New York, NY
Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)
Sherry Pocknett, Sly Fox Den Too, Charlestown, RI
Best Chef: Northwest & Pacific (AK, HI, OR, WA)
Vince Nguyen, Berlu, Portland, OR
Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)
Natalia Vallejo, Cocina al Fondo, San Juan, PR
Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)
Terry Koval, The Deer and the Dove, Decatur, GA
Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK)
Andrew Black, Grey Sweater, Oklahoma City, OK
Best Chef: Texas
Benchawan Jabthong Painter, Street to Kitchen, Houston, TX
Humanitarian of the Year Award
The 2023 Humanitarian of the Year Award honorees are the co-founders of the Black Farmer Fund: social entrepreneur and impact investor Olivia Watkins, and farmer and activist Karen Washington.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award honoree is legendary cookbook author, writer, teacher, and actress Madhur Jaffrey CBE.
A new barbecue restaurant in Canaryville, Bell Heir’s BBQ opened its doors in January 2023. Located at 704 W. 47th St., this casual spot offers diners brisket, ribs, burgers, and more. (Neighborhood: South Side)
Bistro Monadnock, a French bistro from the owners of Victor Bar and Love Street, will open in Spring 2023. Located inside the 130-year-old Monadnock Building at 325 S. Federal St., the menu will feature classic French dishes prepared by executive chef Johnny Besch. (Neighborhood: The Loop)
The Cauldron, a magic and wizard-themed restaurant and bar that brings fantasy to life through food and beverage spaces around the world, is pleased to announce the grand opening date of its third location in the U.S. in Wicker Park (1612 W Division St.) on May 4, 2023. As the brand’s largest U.S. location yet, The Cauldron Chicago fills the space of a 10,000-square foot former bank that will boast a ticketed and ever-evolving Potion-Making Experience, a walk-in restaurant and bar with weekly programming, and more. (Neighborhood: Wicker Park)
Dawn, a new brunch spot from the owner of Caribbean bar and restaurant 14 Parish, will open Summer 2023 at 1642 E. 56th St. at the former home of Piccolo Mondo. Restaurateur Racquel Fields, a South Side native, is planning to offer a combination of new American fare and Southern staples like fried green tomatoes. (Neighborhood: Hyde Park)
Vegan cuisine is on the menu at Don Bucio’s Taqueria in Logan Square. James Beard Award-nominated chef Rodolfo Cuadros opened the plant-based restaurant at 2763 N. Milwaukee Ave. in early 2023. (Neighborhood: Logan Square)
West Loop Mexican restaurant and bar Federales will open a second Chicago location in Logan Square at 2471 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Spring 2023. Four Corners, the hospitality group behind Federales, Ranalli’s, Benchmark, and Kirkwood, will transform the former Marcello’s Father & Son restaurant space into Federales’s Logan Square outpost. (Neighborhood: Logan Square)
Fioretta is a new steakhouse from the team behind Siena Tavern and Prime & Provisions set to open in Spring 2023. The menu at the 318 N. Sangamon St. location features Italian-American fare. (Neighborhood: Fulton Market)
After debuting Gordon Ramsay Burger in December 2021, celebrity chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay plans to pay homage to one of his most popular TV shows with Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen. Set to open in River North in 2023, the 18,000-square-foot two-story restaurant will be one of only a handful locations in the U.S. and will include a few unique-to-Chicago, to-be-determined menu items. (Neighborhood: River North)
Kindling | Downtown Cookout & Cocktails, a new concept from The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, opened January 2023 inside the Catalog at Willis Tower. The 17,000-square-foot live fire show kitchen restaurant is helmed by James Beard Award winner Jonathon Sawyer, formerly of the Four Seasons Hotel’s Adorn Restaurant & Bar. (Neighborhood: The Loop)
New York City restaurant Kohoku-Ku Ramen is opening its first Chicago location in Spring 2023. The shop at 1136 W. Thorndale Ave. offers diners 12 different types of ramen with a variety of broths. (Neighborhood: Edgewater)
Michelin-star Chef Daniel Rose returned home after years in New York and abroad to open a French restaurant Le Select in Chicago with the industrious Boka Restaurant Group in January 2023. The menu features traditional French brasserie fare, showcasing the best ingredients and classic French techniques. (Neighborhood: River North)
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises will open two new Ramen-san and Sushi-san restaurants in Lincoln Park later this year at 1962 N. Halsted St. and 1948 N. Halsted St., respectively. The Lincoln Park Ramen-san will open in early 2023, while the Sushi-san will open in late 2023.
Ramen-san’s Lincoln Park outpost will mark the fourth location of the noodle shop. Sushi-san’s debut will signal the sushi restaurant’s third location. (Neighborhood: Lincoln Park)
- The first restaurant, Miru (pronounced mē-rōō), from Executive Chef Hisanobu Osaka will open Spring 2023 in tandem with the hotel. Miru, Japanese for “view,” will showcase Chef Osaka’s unique take on Japanese cuisine and boast two terraces and a dining room that overlooks the Chicago River and Navy Pier. The Japanese restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu will include sushi, sashimi, and raw selections from the sushi bar, complimented by a selection of Izakaya-style dishes like hand-made dumplings, skewers, fried rice, and hot pots, as well as a robust wagyu and seafood section.
- The second restaurant, Tre Dita (pronounced trā dē-tä), Italian for three fingers, is a nod to the thickness of a properly cut bistecca Fiorentina that the restaurant will be serving from its open-hearth wood fired grill. The Tuscan Steakhouse is in collaboration with award-winning Chef Evan Funke (Felix, Mother Wolf) and will open later in 2023.
- Netflix’s School of Chocolate winner and Jean Banchet Award nominee Juan Gutierrez has been named Executive Pastry Chef, while
- will oversee the restaurants’ beverage programs as Beverage Director.
Little Goat Diner, the newest location from James Beard Award-winning chef Stephanie Izard, will open its doors at 3325 N. Southport Ave. in Spring 2023. The menu features new takes on classic diner dishes like burgers, French toast, and chicken and dumplings. (Neighborhood: Lakeview)
The Oakville Grill & Cellar, another new restaurant from Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, designed to evoke the effortless ease of Napa Valley dining, opened April 2023 at 163 North Green St. (Neighborhood: Fulton Market)
About Choose Chicago
Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. Follow @choosechicago on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok and tag #ChicaGOandKNOW. For more information, visit choosechicago.com.
Chicago, an international food destination, is once again hosting the prestigious James Beard Awards on June 3-5. To buy tickets, see below. Chicago also recently was recognized by Food & Wine’s new Global Tastemakers Awards in the following categories:
○ 10 Best Cities for Neighborhood Restaurants in the U.S. (#4)
○ The Best Cities for Food in the U.S. (#6)
○ The 10 Best Bars in the U.S. (The Violet Hour, #10)
○ The 5 Most Creative Bars in the U.S. (The Violet Hour, #1, The Aviary, #2)
James Beard Awards 2023: full list of Chicago nominees
Big Jones Restaurant chef and owner, Paul Fehribach was recognized as a nominee for Best Chef in the Midwest, 2023 by the James Beard Foundation. When he is not in the kitchen, Fehribach has been writing his multi-year cookbook project Midwestern Food: A Chef’s Guide to the Surprising History of a Great American Cuisine available for purchase in mid-October 2023 from local booksellers online and at Big Jones.
The prestigious James Beard Awards will be returning to Chicago to honor the best restaurants and chefs in America on June 5, 2023. The list of Chicago semifinalist contenders include:
Smyth: Outstanding Restaurant
One of the James Beard Awards’ highest honors, Outstanding Restaurant recognizes establishments that “demonstrate consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, and hospitality.” Helmed by husband-and-wife duo John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, this tasting menu spot is grounded in pristine products and produce grown in close collaboration with small farms. The menu, which evolves constantly, is served in a welcoming atmosphere with an open kitchen, so guests can watch the chef’s creativity in action.
Damarr Brown, Virtue: Emerging Chef
Last year, executive chef Erick Williams of Virtue took from the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes. This year, his chef de cuisine Damarr Brown is being recognized for displaying “exceptional talent, character, and leadership ability”. Brown, a fan favorite on Top Chef, has been demonstrating his culinary expertise in Virtue’s kitchen in the Hyde Park neighborhood, composing elegant versions of classic Southern American dishes.
Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining: Best New Restaurant
A hidden gem no more, Khmai has received local and national acclaim for its authentic Cambodian cuisine. Executive chef Mona Sang draws on her Cambodian heritage to compose the restaurant’s weekly menus, which are all served family style for the entire table to enjoy. Khmai is located in the Rogers Park neighborhood — be sure to make a reservation before you go.
Obélix: Best New Restaurant
Chicago is home to a plethora of excellent French restaurants, but Obélix has still managed to stand out from the pack. The intimate space in River North serves up elevated takes on modern French fare. Diners will find favorites like French onion soup, escargots, and steak frites, alongside creative dishes like foie gras macarons, lobster crepes, and confit squab.
Sepia: Outstanding Hospitality
A longtime favorite in the West Loop neighborhood, this venerable institution has earned this nomination for “fostering a sense of hospitality among its customers and staff that serves as a beacon for the community”. The menu melds rustic and refined elements in a way that’s both classic and approachable. The four-course tasting menu offers various options, including sourdough cavatelli, truffle fried chicken, dry-aged beef striploin, and more.
All Together Now: Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program
This funky space in the West Town neighborhood is a jack of all trades — wine shop, cheese counter, intimate restaurant, and community gathering space. You can grab some small plates at happy hour, enjoy a weekend brunch, load up on ingredients for the perfect charcuterie board, or just kick back with a glass of wine and enjoy the laidback vibes.
These regional accolades recognize chefs who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities, while contributing positively to their broader community. The following Chicago chefs have been nominated for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2023:
- Diana Dávila Boldin, Mi Tocaya Antojería
- Thai Dang, HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen
- Paul Fehribach, Big Jones
- Tim Flores and Genie Kwon, Kasama
- Zubair Mohajir, Wazwan
● North America’s 50 Best Bars named Kumiko and Milk Room to their 2023 list.
James Beard Events
2023 James Beard Awards
June 3-5, 2023
2023 James Beard Awards
For more than 30 years, the James Beard Awards, among the nation’s most prestigious honors, have recognized leaders in the culinary and food media industries. This summer, nominees and Award winners will be honored through a weekend of events sure to be the industry’s and food lovers’ highlight of the year, gathering nearly 1,500 of the country’s top chefs, restaurateurs, food media, and culinary enthusiasts in Chicago with millions more tuning in live and on TV. More than 70 Awards will recognize excellence in the categories of restaurants and chefs, books, broadcast media, journalism, leadership, and lifetime achievements.
Join us as we celebrate excellence and community while recognizing our rich and diverse culinary heritage and those who tell its story.
James Beard Media Awards
Saturday, June 3 at 5:00 P.M. CT, Columbia College Chicago
A theater-style seated awards ceremony honoring broadcast media, cookbook, and journalism nominees from around the country. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony, highlighting chefs and other luminaries, including those from the Chicago culinary scene. 400 guests are expected.
James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards
Monday, June 5 at 6:00 P.M. CT, Lyric Opera of Chicago
This Academy Awards-style event will feature red carpet arrivals and an awards ceremony honoring the best of the best in the restaurant and chef industry. This premier event will be broadcast live. 1,650 guests are expected.
James Beard Post-Awards Celebration
Monday, June 5 at 9:00 P.M. CT, Chicago Union Station
A walk-around tasting reception held at Union Station will immediately follow the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards. Attended by over 1,600 chefs, restaurateurs, food media, and culinary enthusiasts, the event will feature food and beverage stations highlighting chefs from around the country.
Reservation Policy: All reservations are non-refundable.
About the James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability.