Mr. Jiu’s in Chinatown: Contemporary Asian Recipes

He cooked in Italy, honed the seasonal California-Mediterranean style in the kitchen of the Zuni Café, and learned Californian contemporary cuisine with Italian influences at Quince. But when it came right down to it, Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco who just last night won this year’s James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: California, missed his grandmother’s cooking.

“What I remember from eating my grandma’s food is after eating, you feel good,” says Jew whose original family name was spelled Jiu but was changed when the family moved here when going through customs. “That sensation is what I want people to experience. Understanding that chefs back in old China—they were considered doctors too, where they were healing people and giving remedies to fix your ailments. A lot of it was basically what they were feeding you. I try not to take it too seriously, but there are things I feel like as a chef, I feel like it’s my responsibility to make people feel good afterwards too.”

But those years cooking Cal weren’t wasted.

Lion’s Head Meatballs

“Cantonese cuisine and California cuisine really align in how ingredient-driven the food is and how minimal—the goal is to do as little to a perfect ingredient,” says Jew. “Finding that perfect ingredient and thinking of the cooking method to showcase its natural flavors the most, to me, is very Cantonese and Californian. I’m using that mentality to bridge the two together.”

A bio major, Jew says it starts with the ingredients.

“There are just some classic things we want to reinterpret,” he says. “There isn’t a lot of specific recipes for a lot of things. Chop suey just doesn’t have really any recipe to it. We’re taking the creative freedom to do our version of that, or even something like egg foo young.”

All the recipes and images used in this story are with permission from Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown: RECIPES AND STORIES FROM THE BIRTHPLACE OF CHINESE AMERICAN FOOD.

LION’S HEAD MEATBALLS

Anything that needs slow braising will do well in a clay pot. The porous clay distributes an encompassing gentle heat all while sealing in the juices. The slightly alkaline clay also keeps proteins loose and tender. I appreciate a clay pot for its kindness to cooks. It holds heat so well that you can set it aside off-heat for an hour or two and come back to find everything inside still nice and toasty. And if you don’t have one, a small Dutch oven with a tight lid will do. Lion’s head (獅子頭, shī zi tóu in Mandarin) are a classic Chinese meatball (the bumpy texture looks like the curly manes of mythical lions). We use savory ingredients ingredients—mushrooms, seaweed, and a blend of pork—that compounds the sīn flavor exponentially. Use whatever delicious fungi you’ve got. Sometimes I drop a handful of fresh cordyceps (蟲草花, chóng căo huá) sautéed with garlic, or shave matsutake as in this recipe. For the bacon, choose an intensely smoky kind. You can use a meat grinder or hand-chop everything old-school.

Active Time — 1 hour, 15 minutes

Plan Ahead — You’ll need about 3 hours total, plus time to make Chicken Stock; pre-soak the clay pot for 2 hours

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Special Equipment — Meat grinder (optional), soaked 9-inch clay pot or a small Dutch oven

Lion’s Head Meatballs

  • 3 oz / 85g nettles or stemmed lacinato kale
  • 1 tsp neutral oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 oz / 115g skin-on pork belly
  • 12 Savoy cabbage leaves, thick stems trimmed
  • 12 oz / 340g pork shoulder, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 3 oz / 85g pork back fat
  • 3½ oz / 100g medium-firm doufu
  • 4 tsp peeled and minced ginger
  • 1½ Tbsp light soy sauce (生抽, sāng chāu)
  • 1 Tbsp powdered milk
  • 1¼ tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1½ cups / 360ml Matsutake Broth (recipe follows)
  • 2 Tbsp neutral oil
  • 3 oz / 85g fresh wild mushrooms (such as matsutake, black trumpets, or chanterelles), chopped if large
  • ½ rosemary sprig, about 2 inches long
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 1 fresh matsutake mushroom, very thinly sliced or shaved with a mandoline

To make the meatballs: While wearing thick gloves, strip the leaves from the nettles and discard the stems.

In a wok or a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the neutral oil until shimmering. Add the nettles and a pinch of salt and cook until wilted but still bright green, about 1½ minutes. If using kale, this will take about 3 minutes. Finely chop and set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.

Remove the skin from the pork belly. Add the skin to the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds to firm up. Using tongs, remove and set aside. Add the cabbage leaves (work in batches, if needed) to the water and blanch until just wilted, about 30 seconds, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet to drain.

Place the pork skin, pork shoulder, belly, and back fat in a single layer on a plate and put in the freezer until the surface is just frozen but the center is still soft enough to be ground, about 15 minutes.

If using a meat grinder, grind the fat and skin through a fine grinding plate (⅛-inch / 3mm holes) into a large bowl. Switch to a coarse grinding plate (¼-inch / 6mm holes). Regrind about half of the fat-skin mixture back into the large bowl, then grind the shoulder and belly through the same grinding plate. Mix gently to combine. Regrind about half of the pork mixture again. Grind the doufu through the coarse grinding plate into the large bowl.

If chopping by hand, separately mince the pork belly skin, pork belly, pork shoulder, pork fat, and doufu using a chef’s knife or cleaver (two if you got ’em). Transfer to a large bowl as each one has formed a sticky paste and then mix well.

Add the nettles, ginger, soy sauce, powdered milk, 1½ tsp salt, pepper, and fish sauce to the bowl and use your hands to mix until well combined and a sticky paste forms but the meat is not overworked.

Divide the mixture into six portions. Roll each portion into a ball that is firmly packed and smooth. Wrap a cabbage leaf around each meatball, leaving the top exposed (save the remaining cabbage leaves for the clay pot). Refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Place the wrapped meatballs in a single layer in a soaked 9-inch-wide clay pot or small Dutch oven. Tuck the remaining cabbage leaves between the meatballs, then add the broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Transfer the pot to the oven and bake uncovered until the meatballs are browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm a wok or a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the neutral oil and let it heat up for a few seconds. Add the mushrooms and rosemary, season with salt, and stir-fry until the mushrooms are browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the rosemary.

Spoon the stir-fried mushrooms and any oil left in the pan over the meatballs and top with the pine nuts and shaved mushroom. Serve immediately.

MATSUTAKE BROTH

Makes 1 ½ cups / 360ml

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sear the bacon until dark golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion to the pan and sear until very browned on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low; add the seared bacon, chicken stock, both dried mushrooms, and kombu; and simmer until reduced to 1½ cups / 360ml, about 1 hour.

Fit a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Stir the fish sauce into the broth. Let cool, transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

SIZZLING FISH

On a weekly basis, my mom would cook corned beef with cabbage, or chicken à la king, or sausage lasagna. It was too expensive to travel internationally, but we got to eat all over the world from our kitchen table. When she cooked food from her childhood, though, she would make us this steamed fish, topped with ginger, green onions, and fermented black beans. The flavor of steamed fish in Cantonese cuisine is all about sīn tìhm (鮮甜), the essential flavor of a fresh ingredient in combination with a pure, smooth sweetness. The final lashing of hot oil in this dish infuses the green onions and ginger into the flesh of the fish and enriches the soy. Take care not to overcook the fish; I like to turn off the heat in the last minutes of cooking and let the steam finish the job. The flesh should pull off the bone in tender morsels, not flake. I always score round, fleshy fish to help it cook evenly. Then I steam the fish only until the thickest flesh right behind the gill area is not quite opaque or, as Cantonese cooks say, “translucent like white jade.”

Active Time — 20 minutes

Makes 4 servings

Special Equipment — Steamer, 9-inch pie plate

  • 1 Tbsp fermented black beans (optional)
  • One 1½-lb / 680g whole fish (such as black bass or Tai snapper), gutted and scaled
  • large handful aromatics (such as thinly sliced ginger, green onion tops, and/or strips of fresh citrus zest)
  • ¼ cup / 60ml high-smoke-point oil (such as peanut oil)
  • 2 Tbsp premium soy sauce (頭抽, tàuh chāu) or light soy sauce (生抽, sāng chāu)
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and thread cut
  • 3 green onions, thread cut (white parts only)
  • Young cilantro sprigs for garnishing

In a small bowl, cover the black beans (if using) with water, let soak for 30 minutes, and then drain.

Prepare a steamer in a wok or a large, lidded pot following the instructions on page 167 and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, using kitchen shears, cut off the gills and the fins (careful, sharp!) on the top, bottom, and sides of the fish. Run your fingers over the skin, especially near the gills and belly, toward the head to check for any last scales; remove the scales with the edge of a spoon or the back of a knife.

On both sides of the fish, make eight 2-inch-long parallel slits into the flesh, not quite deep enough to hit bone, starting about 1 inch from the gills. Place the fish in a pie plate. (The fish can hang over the edges so long as everything fits in the steamer. If not, cut the fish in half to fit and hope none of your guests are superstitious.) Tuck some of your chosen aromatics into each slit, then stuff the remaining aromatics in the cavity. Top the fish with the black beans.

Place the pie plate in the steamer, cover, and steam until the eyeball is opaque and the flesh of the fish is white and flaky at the thickest part near the head and first slit, 10 to 12 minutes.

While the fish is steaming, in a small heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, slowly warm the oil.

When the fish is ready, remove it with the pie plate from the steamer. (Reassemble as a whole fish if you cut it in two.) Drizzle with the soy sauce, then top with the ginger and green onions. Turn the heat under the oil to high and warm until it just starts to smoke. Immediately pour the oil over the fish, getting as much of the ginger and green onions to sizzle as you can. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with a spoon big enough for drizzling the juices.

TAIWANESE-STYLE EGGPLANT

For this recipe, I prefer medium Chinese eggplants, the pale purple, slender ones that are ten to twelve inches long, over similar-looking but more bitter varieties. This calls for oil-blanching and, because eggplant is basically a sponge, brining them for an hour first until they are saturated but not bloated. During frying, the water turns to steam and makes the eggplant creamy and not at all oily.

Cooking is really the study of water. It takes water to grow everything, of course, and so the amount of water that remains in an ingredient after it is harvested or butchered dictates how it will heat through in the pan, whether it will soften, seize, crisp, or caramelize. You’re adding water when you use stocks, vinegars, or alcohol. You’re creating barriers to water with starches. How you cut ingredients and the order in which you add them to the pan is about controlling how and when they release the water inside them. Even the shapes of cooking vessels are about releasing or retaining moisture. When cooking with a wok, changes to water happen so quickly that split-second timing is essential.

Active Time — 25 minutes

Plan Ahead — You’ll need 1 hour for brining

Makes 4 servings

Special Equipment — Deep-fry thermometer, spider

  • 2 medium Chinese eggplants
  • 5 qt plus ¼ cup / 1L water
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 qt / 1.9L neutral oil
  • 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2¼ tsp granulated sugar
  • 5  garlic cloves; 2 thinly sliced, 3 finely chopped
  • 5 red Fresno chile, cut into thin rings
  • ¼ cup / 5g packed Thai or opal basil leaves, torn in half if large

Trim and discard the eggplant ends, then cut into thick wedges, like steak frites—first cut crosswise into three 3-inch chunks, then halve those lengthwise repeatedly until you have 1-inch-thick wedges.

In a large bowl, combine 1 qt / 950ml of the water and the salt and whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the eggplant, making sure it is submerged, and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Fill a 5-quart or larger Dutch oven with the neutral oil and secure a deep-fry thermometer on the side. Set over medium-high heat and warm the oil to 375°F.

Meanwhile, drain the eggplant and dry very well with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup / 60ml water, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set this sauce aside.

Add the sliced garlic to the oil and fry until crisp and light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Use a spider to transfer them to a paper towel to drain.

Check that the oil in the Dutch oven is still at 375°F. Set up for the second fry by setting a dry wok or large skillet over high heat.

Carefully slide all the eggplant into the oil. Stir until the eggplant has darkened and caramelized at the edges, about 1 minute. Remove the eggplant with the spider and drain well over the Dutch oven, then transfer to the screaming-hot wok.

Immediately add the chopped garlic and most of the chile rings (reserve a few for garnish) to the eggplant in the wok and toss everything to combine. Add the reserved sauce and continue to toss until the sauce thickens to a glaze and the eggplants are browned at the edges, about 1 minute. Add most of the basil leaves and toss until wilted.

Transfer the contents of the wok to a serving platter. Crumble the fried garlic and scatter it over the eggplant with the rest of the basil and chile rings. Serve immediately.

THE 2022 JAMES BEARD AWARD RESTAURANT AND CHEF SEMIFINALISTS

The James Beard Award Semifinalists today announced their 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists in advance of the returning James Beard Awards® presented by Capital One. Winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 13, 2022, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Restaurant and Chef Awards nominees, in addition to honorees for Leadership, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Humanitarian of the Year Awards will be revealed on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Scottsdale, AZ. Nominees for the James Beard Foundation Media Awards will be released on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in New York City.

Mabel Gray

The James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards were established in 1991 and is one of five separate recognition programs of the Awards. James Beard Awards policies and procedures can be viewed at jamesbeard.org/awards/policies

Check out the 2022 Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists below.

Outstanding Restaurateur  

  • Ashok Bajaj, Knightsbridge Restaurant Group (Rasika, Bindaas, Annabelle, and others), Washington, D.C. 
  • Kim Bartmann, Bartmann Group, Minneapolis 
  • Chris Bianco, Tratto, Pane Bianco, and Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix 
  • Jason and Sue Chin, Good Salt Restaurant Group, Orlando, FL 
  • Brandon Chrostowski, EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, Cleveland 
  • Larry and Jessica Delgado, Delgado Collective, McAllen, TX 
  • Ravi DeRossi, Overthrow Hospitality, NYC 
  • Greg Dulan, Dulan’s Soul Food Restaurant, Los Angeles 
  • Kevin Gillespie, Red Beard Restaurants (Gunshow, Ole Reliable, and Revival), Atlanta 
  • Andrew Le, The Pig and the Lady and Piggy Smalls, Honolulu 
  • Marc Meyer, Vicki Freeman, and Chris Paraskevaides, Bowery Group (Shuka, Shukette, Vic’s, and others) NYC 
  • Joe Muench, Black Shoe Hospitality, Milwaukee 
  • Willy Ng, Koi Palace, Dragon Beaux, and Palette Tea House, San Francisco 
  • Akkapong “Earl” Ninsom, Langbaan, Hat Yai, Eem, and others, Portland, OR 
  • Todd Richards and Joshua Lee, The Soulful Company (Lake & Oak), Atlanta 
  • J.D. Simpson and Roger Yopp, SavannahBlue, Detroit 
  • Deborah Snow and Barbara White, Blue Heron Restaurant & Catering, Sunderland, MA 
  • Chris Williams, Lucille’s Hospitality Group, Houston 
  • Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group (Fork, a.kitchen + bar, High Street Philly, and others), Philadelphia 
  • Edwin Zoe, Zoe Ma Ma and Chimera Ramen, Boulder and Denver, CO 

Outstanding Chef  

  • Reem Assil, Reem’s, Oakland and San Francisco, CA 
  • Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah, GA 
  • Andrew Black, Grey Sweater, Oklahoma City 
  • Peter Chang, Peter Chang, VA and MD 
  • Austin Covert, Rosewild, Fargo, ND 
  • Christopher Gross, Christopher’s, Phoenix 
  • Stephen Jones, The Larder + The Delta, Phoenix 
  • Ji Hye Kim, Miss Kim, Ann Arbor, MI 
  • Kyle Knall, Birch, Milwaukee 
  • Emiliano Marentes, ELEMI, El Paso, TX 
  • Niki Nakayama, n/naka, Los Angeles 
  • Keiji Nakazawa, Sushi Sho, Honolulu 
  • Josh Niernberg, Bin 707 Foodbar, Grand Junction, CO 
  • Alex Raij and Eder Montero, La Vara, NYC 
  • Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, Don Angie, NYC 
  • Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami 
  • Douglass Williams, MIDA, Boston 
  • Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore 
  • Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle 

 Outstanding Restaurant 

Parachute
  • Brennan’s, New Orleans 
  • Butcher & Bee, Charleston, SC 
  • Chai Pani, Asheville, NC 
  • Cora Cora, West Hartford, CT 
  • Di Fara Pizza, NYC 
  • El Burén de Lula, Loíza, PR 
  • Friday Saturday Sunday, Philadelphia 
  • Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, Boulder, UT 
  • La Morada, NYC 
  • Living Kitchen Farm & Dairy, Depew, OK 
  • Métier, Washington, D.C. 
  • Mixtli, San Antonio, TX 
  • Parachute, Chicago 
  • Paragary’s, Sacramento, CA 
  • Post & Beam, Los Angeles 
  • Odd Duck, Milwaukee 
  • Oriole, Chicago 
  • ShinBay, Scottsdale, AZ 
  • Sushi Izakaya Gaku, Honolulu 
  • The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle 

 

Emerging Chef

  • Manuel “Manny” Barella, Bellota, Denver 
  • Angel Barreto, Anju, Washington, D.C. 
  • Kristi Brown, Communion, Seattle 
  • Rochelle Daniel, Atria, Flagstaff, AZ 
  • Calvin Eng, Bonnie’s, NYC 
  • Casey Felton, Bahn Oui, Los Angeles 
  • Shenarri Freeman, Cadence, NYC 
  • Ben Grupe, Tempus, St. Louis 
  • Donald Hawk, Valentine, Phoenix 
  • Cleophus Hethington, Benne on Eagle, Asheville, NC 
  • Brian Hirata, Na‘’au, Hilo, HI 
  • Serigne Mbaye, Dakar Nola, New Orleans 
  • Thuy Pham, Mama Đút, Portland, OR 
  • Mia Orino and Carlo Gan, Kamayan ATL, Atlanta 
  • Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria, Austin 
  • Amanda Shulman, Her Place Supper Club, Philadelphia 
  • Amanda Turner, Olamaie, Austin 
  • Chris Viaud, Greenleaf, Milford, NH 
  • Crystal Wahpepah, Wahpepah’s Kitchen, Oakland, CA 
  • David Yoshimura, Nisei, San Francisco 

Best New Restaurant 

Café Mamajuana, Burlington, VT 
  • ABACÁ, San Francisco 
  • Angry Egret Dinette, Los Angeles 
  • Bacanora, Phoenix 
  • BARDA, Detroit 
  • Café Mamajuana, Burlington, VT 
  • Casian Seafood, Lafayette, CO 
  • Dhamaka, NYC 
  • Fritai, New Orleans 
  • Gage & Tollner, NYC 
  • Horn BBQ, Oakland, CA 
  • Kasama, Chicago 
  • Kimika, NYC 
  • Laser Wolf, Philadelphia 
  • Leeward, Portland, ME 
  • Lengua Madre, New Orleans 
  • MACHETE, Greensboro, NC 
  • Matia Kitchen & Bar, Orcas Island, WA 
  • The Marble Table, Billings, MT 
  • Nani’s Piri Piri Chicken, Asheville, NC 
  • NiHao, Baltimore 
  • Owamni, Minneapolis 
  • Oyster Oyster, Washington, D.C. 
  • Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House, San Leon, TX 
  • República, Portland, OR 
  • Roots Southern Table, Farmers Branch, TX 
  • Sooper Secret Izakaya, Honolulu 
  • Union Hmong Kitchen, Minneapolis 
  • Ursula, NYC 
  • Zacatlán Restaurant, Santa Fe 
  • Zitz Sum, Coral Gables, FL 

Outstanding Pastry Chef 

Chacónne Patisserie
  • Antonio Bachour, Bachour, Coral Gables and Doral, FL 
  • Nicolas Blouin, Destination Kohler, Kohler, WI 
  • Warda Bouguettaya, Warda Pâtisserie, Detroit 
  • Mark Chacón, Chacónne Patisserie, Phoenix 
  • Angela Cicala, Cicala at the Divine Lorraine, Philadelphia 
  • Kate Fisher Hamm, Leeward, Portland, ME 
  • Michelle Karr-Ueoka, MW Restaurant, Honolulu 
  • Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles 
  • Claudia Martinez, Miller Union, Atlanta 
  • Elise Mensing, Brasserie by Niche, St. Louis 
  • Camari Mick, The Musket Room, NYC 
  • Ruben Ortega, Xochi, Houston 
  • Shannah Primiano, Porto, Chicago 
  • Rabii Saber, Four Seasons, Orlando, FL 
  • Caroline Schiff, Gage & Tollner, NYC  
  • Anne Specker, Kinship, Washington, D.C. 
  • Krystle Swenson, The Social Haus, Greenough, MT 
  • Sofia Tejeda, Mixtli, San Antonio, TX 
  • Jen Yee, Hopkins and Company, Atlanta 

Outstanding Baker 

  • David Cáceres, La Panadería, San Antonio, TX 
  • Maya-Camille Broussard, Justice of the Pies, Chicago 
  • Atsuko Fujimoto, Norimoto Bakery, Portland, ME 
  • Susannah Gebhart, Old World Levain (OWL) Bakery, Asheville, NC 
  • Marissa and Mark Gencarelli, Yoli Tortilleria, Kansas City, MO 
  • Joseph, Archalous, and Caroline Geragosian, Old Sasoon Bakery, Pasadena, CA 
  • Don Guerra, Barrio Bread, Tucson, AZ 
  • Aaron Hall, The Local Crumb, Mount Vernon, IA 
  • Mike Hirao, Nisshodo Candy Store, Honolulu 
  • Clement Hsu, Katherine Campecino-Wong, and James Wong, Breadbelly, San Francisco 
  • Nobutoshi “Nobu” Mizushima and Yuko Kawashiwo, Ihatov Bread and Coffee, Albuquerque, NM 
  • Evette Rahman, Sister Honey’s, Orlando, FL 
  • Rhonda Saltzman and Mercedes Brooks, Second Daughter Baking Co., Philadelphia 
  • Caroline Schweitzer and Lauren Heemstra, Wild Crumb, Bozeman, MT 
  • Khatera Shams, Sunshine Spice Bakery & Cafe, Boise, ID 
  • Zak Stern, Zak the Baker, Miami 
  • Elaine Townsend, Café Mochiko, Cincinnati, OH 
  • Maricsa Trejo, La Casita Bakeshop, Richardson, TX 
  • Louis Volle, Lodi, NYC 
  • Pamela Vuong, The Flour Box, Seattle 

Outstanding Hospitality (Presented by American Airlines)

  • BaoBao Dumpling House, Portland, ME 
  • Bar del Corso, Seattle 
  • Binkley’s, Phoenix 
  • Coquine, Portland, OR 
  • Cúrate, Asheville, NC 
  • House of Prime Rib, San Francisco 
  • Hugo’s, Houston 
  • Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, AL 
  • José, Dallas 
  • Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, Hudson, NY 
  • Mudgie’s Deli and Wine Shop, Detroit 
  • Phoenicia, Birmingham, MI 
  • The Preacher’s Son, Bentonville, AR 
  • Sanford, Milwaukee 
  • Spuntino, Denver 
  • Steve and Cookie’s, Margate, NJ 
  • Sylvia’s Restaurant, NYC 
  • Ticonderoga Club, Atlanta 
  • Tutka Bay Lodge, Homer, AK 
  • Valter’s Osteria, Salt Lake City 

 

Outstanding Wine Program

Kai
  • a.kitchen + bar, Philadelphia 
  • The Four Horsemen, NYC 
  • Frenchette, NYC 
  • Golden Age Wine, Mountain Brook, AL 
  • High Street Wine Co., San Antonio, TX 
  • Hiyu Wine Farm, Hood River, OR 
  • Kai, Phoenix 
  • L’Etoile, Madison, WI 
  • The Little Nell, Aspen, CO 
  • Lucky Palace, Bossier City, LA 
  • Lyla Lila, Atlanta 
  • Madam, Birmingham, MI 
  • Maydan, Washington, D.C. 
  • Polo Grill, Tulsa, OK 
  • The Punchdown, Oakland, CA 
  • Rainbow Ranch Lodge, Gallatin Gateway, MT 
  • Rebel Rebel, Somerville, MA 
  • Sachet, Dallas 
  • Tomo, Seattle 
  • Vicia, St. Louis 

Outstanding Bar Program

Nobody’s Darling

  • Alley Twenty Six, Durham, NC 
  • Attaboy, Nashville 
  • Avenue Pub, New Orleans 
  • Bar Leather Apron, Honolulu 
  • barmini by José Andrés, Washington, D.C. 
  • Cafe La Trova, Miami 
  • Chapel Tavern, Reno, NV 
  • Friends and Family, Oakland, CA 
  • Genever, Los Angeles 
  • Goodkind, Milwaukee 
  • The Jewel Box, Portland, ME 
  • Julep, Houston 
  • La Factoría, San Juan, PR 
  • Las Almas Rotas, Dallas 
  • Llama San, NYC 
  • Nobody’s Darling, Chicago 
  • Shelby, Detroit 
  • Valkyrie, Tulsa, OK 
  • Vicia, St. Louis 
  • Water Witch, Salt Lake City

Best Chefs (Presented by Capital One):

Best Chef: California 

Mr. Jui’s

  • Chris Barnum-Dann, Localis, Sacramento, CA 
  • Sylvan Mishima Brackett, Rintaro, San Francisco 
  • Val M. Cantu, Californios, San Francisco 
  • Keith Corbin, Alta Adams, Los Angeles 
  • Srijith Gopinathan, Ettan, Palo Alto, CA 
  • Tony Ho, Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant, Rosemead, CA 
  • Judept Irra, Tamales Elena y Antojitos, Bell Gardens, CA 
  • Nobody’s Darling, Chicago San Francisco 
  • Matthew Kammerer, The Harbor House Inn, Elk, CA 
  • Bryant Ng, Cassia, Santa Monica, CA 
  • Heena Patel, Besharam, San Francisco 
  • Natalia Pereira, Woodspoon, Los Angeles 
  • Melissa Perello, Octavia, San Francisco 
  • Minh Phan, Phenakite, Los Angeles 
  • Justin Pichetrungsi, Anajak Thai, Los Angeles 
  • Carlos Salgado, Taco María, Costa Mesa, CA 
  • Sarintip “Jazz” Singsanong, Jitlada, Los Angeles 
  • James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland, CA 
  • Pim Techamuanvivit, Nari, San Francisco 
  • Anthony Wells, Juniper and Ivy, San Diego

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH) 

  • Omar Anani, Saffron De Twah, Detroit 
  • Rodolfo Cuadros, Amaru and Bloom Plant Based Kitchen, Chicago 
  • Diana Dávila Boldin, Mi Tocaya Antojería, Chicago 
  • Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chicago 
  • Jason Hammel, Lula Cafe, Chicago 
  • Anthony Lombardo, SheWolf, Detroit 
  • Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere, Baobab Fare, Detroit 
  • Thomas Melvin, Vida, Indianapolis 
  • Dave Park, Jeong, Chicago 
  • Michael Ransom, ima, Detroit 
  • Darnell Reed, Luella’s Southern Kitchen, Chicago 
  • James Rigato, Mabel Gray, Hazel Park, MI 
  • Jose Salazar, Salazar, Cincinnati, OH 
  • Noah Sandoval, Oriole, Chicago 
  • Ahmad Sanji, AlTayeb, Dearborn, MI 
  • John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, Smyth, Chicago 
  • Jill Vedaa, Salt+, Lakewood, OH 
  • Sarah Welch, Marrow, Detroit 
  • Erick Williams, Virtue Restaurant & Bar, Chicago 
  • Kate Williams, Karl’s, Detroit 

  

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

  • Anthony Andiario, Andiario, West Chester, PA 
  • Joey Baldino, Zeppoli, Collingswood, NJ 
  • Angel Barreto, Anju, Washington, D.C. 
  • Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C. 
  • Adam Diltz, Elwood, Philadelphia 
  • Antimo DiMeo, Bardea Food & Drink, Wilmington, DE 
  • Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, Canal House Station, Milford, NJ 
  • Matt Hill, Ruthie’s All-Day, Arlington, VA 
  • Bill Hoffman, The House of William & Merry, Hockessin, DE 
  • Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya, Philadelphia 
  • Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, Apteka, Pittsburgh 
  • Wei Lu, China Chalet, Florham Park, NJ 
  • Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa, Philadelphia 
  • Peter Prime, Cane, Washington, D.C. 
  • Carlos Raba, Clavel Mezcaleria, Baltimore 
  • Michael Rafidi, Albi, Washington, D.C. 
  • Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, Kalaya Thai Kitchen, Philadelphia 
  • Yuan Tang, Rooster & Owl, Washington, D.C. 
  • Wei Zhu, Chengdu Gourmet, Pittsburgh 
  • Bethany Zozula, 40 North at Alphabet City, Pittsburgh 

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)  

  • Dane Baldwin, The Diplomat, Milwaukee 
  • Karen Bell, Bavette La Boucherie, Milwaukee 
  • Daniel Bonanno, A Pig in a Fur Coat, Madison, WI 
  • Rob Connoley, Bulrush, St. Louis 
  • Jorge Guzmán, Petite León, Minneapolis 
  • Michael Haskett, M.B. Haskett Delicatessen, Sioux Falls, SD 
  • Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, EsterEv, Milwaukee 
  • Mary Kastman, Driftless Cafe, Viroqua, WI 
  • Anthony Kueper, Dolce, Omaha, NE 
  • Gregory León, Amilinda, Milwaukee 
  • Rachel McGill, DISH Restaurant, Lincoln, NE 
  • Ryan Nitschke, Luna Fargo, Fargo, ND 
  • Craig Rivard, Little Fox, St. Louis 
  • Kevin Scharpf, Brazen Open Kitchen | Bar, Dubuque, IA 
  • Sean Sherman, Owamni, Minneapolis 
  • Erik Skaar, Vann, Spring Park, MN 
  • Evy Swoboda, Brasserie by Niche, St. Louis 
  • Carl Thorne-Thomsen, Story., Prairie Village, KS 
  • Yia Vang, Union Hmong Kitchen, Minneapolis 
  • Ben Welch, Botanica, Wildwood, MO 

Best Chef: Mountain (CO, ID, MT, UT, WY) 

  • Saibeen Acord, Saibeen’s Kitchen, Great Falls, MT 
  • Salvador Alamilla, Amano, Caldwell, ID 
  • Dan Ansotegui, Ansots, Boise, ID 
  • Jose Avila, El Borrego Negro, Denver 
  • Mike Blocher, Nick Fahs, and David Barboza, Table X, Salt Lake City 
  • Cody Cheetham, Tavernetta, Denver 
  • Logen Crew and Paul Chamberlain, SLC Eatery, Salt Lake City 
  • Caroline Glover, Annette, Aurora, CO 
  • Briar Handly, Handle, Park City, UT 
  • Suchada Johnson, Teton Thai, Teton Village, WY 
  • Kris Komori, KIN, Boise, ID 
  • Chris Lockhart, PREROGATIvE Kitchen, Red Lodge, MT 
  • Chris McDonald, Cowfish, Lander, WY 
  • Mawa McQueen, Mawa’s Kitchen, Aspen, CO 
  • Brian Menges, The 2nd Street Bistro, Livingston, MT 
  • Paul Naugle, Izakaya Three Fish, Bozeman, MT 
  • Dana Rodriguez, Work & Class, Denver 
  • Eric Skokan, Black Cat Farm Table Bistro, Boulder, CO 
  • Luis Young, Penrose Room, Colorado Springs, CO 
  • Dave Wells, The Tasting Room at Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa, Pray, MT 

Best Chef: New York State  

Under the Volcano
  • Einat Admony, Balaboosta, NYC 
  • Mary Attea, The Musket Room, NYC 
  • Albert and Malenda Bartley, Top Taste, Kingston, NY 
  • Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy, NYC 
  • Nick Curtola, The Four Horsemen, NYC  
  • Eric Gao, O Mandarin, Hartsdale and Hicksville, NY 
  • JJ Johnson, FIELDTRIP, NYC 
  • Gabe McMackin, Troutbeck, Amenia, NY 
  • Helen Nguyen, Saigon Social, NYC 
  • Ayesha Nurdjaja, Shuka, NYC 
  • Chintan Pandya, Dhamaka, NYC 
  • Kyo Pang, Kopitiam, NYC 
  • Junghyun Park, Atomix, NYC 
  • Carla Perez-Gallardo and Hannah Black, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, Hudson, NY 
  • Erik Ramirez, Llama Inn, NYC 
  • Romeo Regalli, Ras Plant Based, NYC 
  • Irwin Sánchez, Under the Volcano, NYC 
  • Bryce Shuman, Sweetbriar, NYC 
  • Hillary Sterling, Ci Siamo, NYC 
  • Dale Talde, Goosefeather, Tarrytown, NY 

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT) 

Annette

  • Bowman Brown, Elda, Biddeford, ME 
  • Vien Dobui, CÔNG TỬ BỘT, Portland, ME 
  • Patricia Estorino, Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar, Waltham and Cambridge, MA 
  • Tiffani Faison, Orfano, Boston 
  • Jeff Fournier, Thompson House Eatery, Jackson, NH 
  • Daniel Gursha, Ledger, Salem, MA 
  • Tico Huynh, Yvonne’s, Cambridge, MA 
  • Ben Jackson, Magnus on Water, Biddeford, ME 
  • Jeremy Kean and Philip Kruta, Brassica Kitchen + Cafe, Boston 
  • Christian Kruse, Black Flannel Brewing Company, Essex Junction, VT 
  • Brian Lewis, The Cottage, Westport, CT 
  • Courtney Loreg, Woodford Food and Beverage, Portland, ME 
  • Macarena Ludena, Cora Cora, West Hartford, CT 
  • Nisachon Morgan, Saap, Randolph, VT 
  • Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA 
  • William Rietzel, COAST, Watch Hill, RI 
  • Damian Sansonetti, Chaval, Portland, ME 
  • John DaSilva, Chickadee, Boston 
  • David Schrier, Jessica Pollard and David Clegg, Daily Operation, Easthampton, MA 
  • David Vargas, Vida Cantina, Portsmouth, NH

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

  • Nathan Bentley, Altura Bistro, Anchorage, AK 
  • Nick Coffey, Ursa Minor, Lopez Island, WA 
  • Erasto Jackson, Lil Red’s Takeout and Catering, Seattle 
  • Jonathan Jones, Epilogue Kitchen & Cocktails, Salem, OR 
  • Liz Kenyon, Rupee Bar, Seattle 
  • Carlo Lamagna, Magna Kusina, Portland, OR 
  • Robynne Maii, Fête, Honolulu 
  • Melissa Miranda, Musang, Seattle 
  • David Nichols, Eight Row, Seattle 
  • Vince Nguyen, Berlu, Portland, OR 
  • Brandon Pettit, Delancey, Seattle 
  • Thomas Pisha-Duffly, Oma’s Hideaway, Portland, OR 
  • Mark Pomaski, Moon & Turtle, Hilo, HI 
  • Beau Schooler, In Bocca Al Lupo, Juneau, AK 
  • Sheldon Simeon, Tin Roof, Kahului, HI 
  • Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi, Seattle 
  • Robert Urquidi, Ethel’s Grill, Honolulu 
  • Jojo Vasquez, Fond, Lahaina, HI 
  • Aaron Verzosa, Archipelago, Seattle 
  • Chad White, Zona Blanca, Spokane, WA 

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV) 

Curate
  • Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC 
  • Greg Collier, Leah & Louise, Charlotte, NC 
  • Mike Costello and Amy Dawson, Lost Creek Farm, Lost Creek, WV 
  • Oscar Diaz, The Cortez, Raleigh, NC 
  • Sunny Gerhart, St. Roch Fine Oysters + Bar, Raleigh, NC 
  • Jake Howell, Peninsula, Nashville 
  • Philip Krajeck, Rolf and Daughters, Nashville 
  • Cheetie Kumar, Garland, Raleigh, NC 
  • Anthony Lamas, Seviche, Louisville, KY 
  • Jason Liang, Brush Sushi Izakaya, Decatur, GA 
  • Ouita Michel, Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Lexington, and Versailles, KY 
  • Ricky Moore, SALTBOX Seafood Joint, Durham, NC 
  • Orlando Pagán, Wild Common, Charleston, SC 
  • Craig Richards, Lyla Lila, Atlanta 
  • Alison Settle, Barn8, Goshen, KY 
  • Peyton Smith, Mission Pizza Napoletana, Winston-Salem, NC 
  • Stephanie Tyson, Sweet Potatoes, Winston-Salem, NC 
  • Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto, Hillsborough, NC 
  • Joey Ward, Southern Belle and Georgia Boy, Atlanta 
  • Mailea Weger, Lou, Nashville 

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)  

  • Blake Aguillard and Trey Smith, Saint-Germain, New Orleans 
  • Michael Beltran, Ariete, Coconut Grove, FL 
  • Valerie, Nando, and Fernando Chang, Itamae, Miami 
  • Clay Conley, Buccan, Palm Beach, FL 
  • Adam Evans, Automatic Seafood and Oysters, Birmingham, AL 
  • Jeremy Ford, Stubborn Seed, Miami 
  • Hao Gong, LUVI Restaurant, New Orleans 
  • Francis Guzmán, Vianda, San Juan, PR 
  • Timothy Hontzas, Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, AL 
  • Melissa M. Martin, Mosquito Supper Club, New Orleans 
  • Matthew McClure, The Hive, Bentonville, AR 
  • Abel Mendoza, Estela, Rincón, PR 
  • Henry Moso, Kabooki Sushi, Orlando, FL 
  • Michael Nelson, GW Fins, New Orleans 
  • Niven Patel, Ghee Indian Kitchen, Kendall, FL 
  • Alex Perry, Vestige, Ocean Springs, MS 
  • Michael Pirolo, Macchialina, Miami 
  • Allison Richard, High Hat Cafe, New Orleans 
  • Rafael Rios, Yeyo’s, Bentonville, AR 
  • Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery, New Orleans 

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK)  

  • Matthew Amberg, Oren, Tulsa, OK 
  • Wanda J. Armstrong, Evelyn’s, Tulsa, OK 
  • Indri Bahar, Rendang & Co. Indonesian Bistro, Tulsa, OK 
  • Troy Cannan, LuLou’s Restaurant, Reno, NV 
  • Kwok Chen, Kwok’s Bistro, Reno, NV 
  • Andrew Donovan, Basque, Tulsa, OK 
  • Lori Hashimoto, Hana Japanese Eatery, Phoenix 
  • Zach Hutton, Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails, Oklahoma City, OK 
  • Gina Marinelli, La Strega and Harlo, Las Vegas 
  • John Martinez, Tito & Pep, Tucson, AZ 
  • Maria Mazon, BOCA Tacos y Tequila, Tuscon, AZ 
  • Ahmed Obo, Jambo Cafe, Santa Fe 
  • Fernando Olea, Sazón, Santa Fe 
  • Martín Rios, Restaurant Martín, Santa Fe 
  • Salazar Brothers, La Guelaguetza, Albuquerque, NM 
  • Giovanni Scorzo, Andreoli Italian Grocer, Scottsdale, AZ 
  • Eben Shillingford, Sisserou’s, Tulsa, OK 
  • Jamie Tran, The Black Sheep, Las Vegas 
  • Hongrui Xin, Big Dan Shanxi Taste, Las Vegas 
  • Marie Yniguez, Bocadillos, Albuquerque, NM 

Best Chef: Texas 

Cured
  • Alex Au-Yeung, Phat Eatery, Katy, TX 
  • Damien Brockway, Distant Relatives, Austin 
  • Aaron Bludorn, Bludorn, Houston 
  • Sylvia Casares, Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, Houston 
  • Tiffany Derry, Roots Southern Table, Farmers Branch, TX 
  • Christine Ha and Tony J. Nguyen, Xin Chào, Houston 
  • Quy Hoang, Blood Bros. BBQ, Bellaire, TX 
  • Kaiser Lashkari, Himalaya Restaurant, Houston 
  • Matt McCallister, Homewood, Dallas 
  • Steven McHugh, Cured, San Antonio, TX 
  • Misti Norris, Petra & the Beast, Dallas 
  • Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman, José, Dallas 
  • Esaul Ramos Jr., 2M Smokehouse, San Antonio, TX 
  • Felipe Riccio, MARCH, Houston 
  • Regino Rojas, Revolver Taco Lounge, Dallas 
  • John Russ, Clementine, San Antonio, TX 
  • Ernest Servantes and David Kirkland, Burnt Bean Co., Seguin, TX 
  • Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo, Austin 
  • Finn Walter, The Nicolett, Lubbock, TX 
  • Koji Yoshida, EBESU Robata & Sushi, Plano, TX