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Dylan Lathrop

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James Beard Awards 2015: Here’s Who Should Win

The 2015 James Beard Awards, considered the highest honor among restaurant and culinary professionals, will be handed out on Monday during a ceremony in the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Here now, a look at who Eater thinks should take home those pretty medals.

Best New Restaurant

  • Bâtard (NYC)
  • Central Provisions (Portland, ME)
  • Cosme (NYC)
  • Parachute (Chicago)
  • Petit Trois (Los Angeles)
  • The Progress (San Francisco)
  • Spoon and Stable (Minneapolis)

Eater endorses...


"I really hope Parachute in Chicago wins Best New Restaurant because it easily ranks as one of my best dining experiences of the last year. Plus, Korean food deserves its day in the spotlight." — Matthew Kang, Eater LA editor

Outstanding Baker

  • Joanne Chang (Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston)
  • Mark Furstenberg (Bread Furst, Washington, D.C.)
  • Jim Lahey (Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC)
  • Belinda Leong and Michel Suas (B. Patisserie, San Francisco)
  • Wiliam Werner (Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco)

Eater endorses...

Belinda Leong and Michel Suas

"The breath of Belinda Leong’s skill set in the pastry and bread kitchen is nothing short of marvelous. Both her and French-trained Michel Suas have evolved over the years. I love seeing them do what they love to do — rather than be beholden to a dessert menu at a restaurant — at SF’s B. Patisserie. From the chocolate chip cookie to the monthly mille-feuille, Leong and Suas demonstrate mastery over their craft and a signature playfulness that translates into clear, clean, crave-worthy flavors. Coupled with an approachable and unfussy service experience, they’ve turned B. Patisserie into a must-taste destination for locals and visitors to San Francisco alike." — Daniela Galarza, news editor

Outstanding Bar Program

  • Arnaud's French 75 Bar (New Orleans)
  • Bar Agricole (San Francisco)
  • Maison Premiere (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Trick Dog (San Francisco)
  • The Violet Hour (Chicago)

Eater endorses...

Arnaud’s French 75 Bar

"It’s a close call this year as each of the contending establishments offers a unique experience. But this award doesn’t just celebrate excellent or innovative drinks, rather, the experience of frequenting a bar as a whole. Arnaud’s, a New Orleans fixture steeped in history, has managed to consistently serve great cocktails, while also providing near perfect and knowledgeable service in a timeless space. This Southern charmer could take the cake." — Kat Odell, Eater Drinks editor

Outstanding Chef

  • Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern, NYC)
  • Sean Brock (Husk, Charleston, SC)
  • Suzanne Goin (Lucques, Los Angeles)
  • Donald Link (Herbsaint, New Orleans)
  • Marc Vetri (Vetri, Philadelphia)

Eater endorses...

Suzanne Goin

"Suzanne Goin has been nominated for this award six times before, and since her first nom (back in 2008), her list of accomplishments has only grown: the openings of Tavern, several Larders, and a bakery; revamping AOC; a cookbook. It’s time for Beard to finally acknowledge her versatility and ambition." — Erin DeJesus, reports editor

Outstanding Pastry Chef

  • Dana Cree (Blackbird, Chicago)
  • Maura Kilpatrick (Oleana, Cambridge, MA)
  • Dahlia Narvaez (Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles)
  • Ghaya Oliveira (Daniel, NYC)
  • Christina Tosi (Momofuku, NYC)

Eater endorses...

Christina Tosi

"You don’t have to like Christina Tosi’s style to see that she’s far and away the most qualified to win this award. She won the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef in 2012, and lost the Outstanding Pastry Chef award to Dominique Ansel last year. Tosi might appear to be having a lot of fun, but she’s clearly got the business of being a pastry chef down pat." — Daniela Galarza, news editor

Outstanding Restaurant

  • Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, NY)
  • Highlands Bar and Grill (Birmingham, AL)
  • Momofuku Noodle Bar (NYC)
  • Per Se (NYC)
  • The Spotted Pig (NYC)

Eater endorses:

Momofuku Noodle Bar

"Noodle Bar debuted in 2004, one of the most important years for New York City restaurants. It’s when April Bloomfield introduced New Yorkers to the gastropub concept with the Spotted Pig. It’s when Thomas Keller's Per Se opened, which weaned us onto longer, more expensive, more American-accented tasting menus. But looking back, it’s hard to think of a more influential restaurant than David Chang’s Noodle Bar, which served as a launching point for the larger Momofuku empire, and countless other ‘haute-casual’ restaurants. It made so many of us care more about using better-sourced ingredients and humanely-raised meats in cuisines previously regarded as ‘ethnic’ or ‘cheap.’ And even though Noodle Bar convinced us to pay more for snack fare, it also, somewhat paradoxically, helped kick off our modern ‘budget gourmet’ movement, serving ambitious small plates in a stripped down setting at lower-than-expected prices." — Ryan Sutton, chief critic/data lead

Eater also endorses:

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

"I love Noodle Bar with all my heart, but if we’re looking for the most ‘Outstanding’ restaurant and restaurant experience, Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns leads this category. To start, the food is engaging, playful, surprising, delicious. But it’s the restaurant's ability to educate and inform diners, to expose them to new ideas and processes without being a scold or a bore, that sets it apart from the others. It’s rare you leave a restaurant so satisfied and also so inspired." — Amanda Kludt, Eater editor-in-chief

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • JoAnn Clevenger (Upperline, New Orleans)
  • Donnie Madia (One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago - Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others)
  • Michael Mina (Mina Group, San Francisco (Michael Mina, RN74, Bourbon Steak, and others)
  • Cindy Pawlcyn (Napa, CA - Mustards Grill, Cindy's Back Street Kitchen, and Cindy's Waterfront at the Monterey Bay Aquarium)
  • Stephen Starr (Starr Restaurants, Philadelphia - The Dandelion, Talula's Garden, Serpico, and others)

Eater endorses...

Stephen Starr

"This guy does not stop opening restaurants. Luckily for America, he’s now opening them with top-notch chefs." — Hillary Dixler, associate reports editor

Outstanding Service

  • The Barn at Blackberry Farm (Walland, TN)
  • Marea (NYC)
  • Quince (San Francisco)
  • Restaurant August (New Orleans)
  • Topolobampo (Chicago)

Eater endorses...


"The impeccably trained staff at Marea takes such good care of diners without ever veering into stodgy or sycophantic territory." — Hillary Dixler, associate reports editor

Outstanding Wine Program

  • A16 (San Francisco)
  • Bern's Steak House (Tampa, FL)
  • FIG (Charleston, SC)
  • McCrady's (Charleston, SC)
  • Spago (Beverly Hills, CA)

Eater endorses...


"That Shelley Lindgren is made to look like Susan Lucci each year by these awards is totally ridiculous. Shelley was a pioneer of a whole half of Italy that was being completely ignored, wine-wise, in this country. She brought in amazing vino for downright cheap prices, she spread the gospel far and wide through A16 and her writing, and she is beloved by customers, staff, and other wine folks alike. GIVE HER THE DAMN AWARD ALREADY! Last year JBF gave this award to a restaurant with a time capsule wine list seemingly straight out of 1999. Time to wake up, James Beard." — Levi Dalton, Eater NY wine editor

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

  • Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE)
  • Ron Cooper (Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM)
  • Ted Lemon (Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, CA), Rajat Parr (Mina Group, San Francisco)
  • Rajat Parr (Mina Group, San Francisco)
  • Harlen Wheatley (Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY)

Eater endorses...

Ron Cooper

"This is a strong group, but Ron Cooper had incredible vision to do what he did. He was way ahead of the pack when it came to artisanal spirits, but he didn’t let that scare him. Instead, he changed the market. He has stood steadfast for quality, traditional products that are distinctive and made by real communities, and he has never given the least amount of ground to the vast global industrial drinks machine." — Levi Dalton, Eater NY wine editor

Rising Star Chef of the Year

  • Tanya Baker (Boarding House, Chicago)
  • Alex Bois (High Street on Market, Philadelphia)
  • Erik Bruner-Yang (Toki Underground, Washington, D.C.)
  • Jessica Largey (Manresa, Los Gatos, CA)
  • Cara Stadler (Tao Yuan, Brunswick, ME)
  • Ari Taymor (Alma, Los Angeles)

Eater endorses...

Erik Bruner-Yang

"Erik Bruner-Yang first came on the scene here with Toki Underground, and really defied expectations with his tiny shop in D.C. that kicked off the ramen craze locally. His long-awaited Maketto, with its ambitious menu and eclectic melding of retail, market and restaurant, is something that's unique in its scope and vibe. Expect to see him making waves in the industry for many years to come." — Missy Frederick, Eater DC editor

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

  • Curtis Duffy (Grace, Chicago)
  • Jonathon Sawyer (Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland)
  • Paul Virant (Vie, Western Springs, IL)
  • Erling Wu-Bower (Nico Osteria, Chicago)
  • Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia, Chicago)

Eater endorses...

Curtis Duffy

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

  • Joe Cicala (Le Virtù, Philadelphia)
  • Spike Gjerde (Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore)
  • Rich Landau (Vedge, Philadelphia)
  • Greg Vernick (Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia)
  • Cindy Wolf (Charleston, Baltimore)

Eater endorses...

Rich Landau

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

  • Paul Berglund (The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis)
  • Justin Carlisle (Ardent, Milwaukee)
  • Gerard Craft (Niche, Clayton, MO)
  • Michelle Gayer (Salty Tart, Minneapolis)
  • Lenny Russo (Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, St. Paul, MN)

Eater endorses...

Paul Berglund

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

  • Karen Akunowicz (Myers + Chang, Boston)
  • Barry Maiden (Hungry Mother, Cambridge, MA)
  • Masa Miyake (Miyake, Portland, ME)
  • Cassie Piuma (Sarma, Somerville, MA)
  • Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, ME)

Eater endorses...

Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley

Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)

  • Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton (Ox, Portland, OR)
  • Renee Erickson (The Whale Wins, Seattle)
  • Blaine Wetzel (The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, WA)
  • Justin Woodward (Castagna, Portland, OR)
  • Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi (Joule, Seattle)

Eater endorses...

Justin Woodward

Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)

  • Marco Canora (Hearth)
  • Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi (Carbone)
  • Mark Ladner (Del Posto)
  • Anita Lo (Annisa)
  • Ignacio Mattos (Estela)
  • Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto)

Eater endorses...

Mark Ladner

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

  • Vishwesh Bhatt (Snackbar, Oxford, MS)
  • Justin Devillier (La Petite Grocery, New Orleans)
  • Jose Enrique (Jose Enrique, San Juan, PR)
  • Slade Rushing (Brennan's, New Orleans)
  • Alon Shaya (Domenica, New Orleans)

Eater endorses...

Alon Shaya

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

  • John Fleer (Rhubarb, Asheville, NC)
  • Edward Lee (610 Magnolia, Louisville, KY)
  • Steven Satterfield (Miller Union, Atlanta)
  • Jason Stanhope (FIG, Charleston, SC)
  • Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman (Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis)
  • Tandy Wilson (City House, Nashville)

Eater endorses...

Steven Satterfield

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)

  • Kevin Binkley (Binkley's, Cave Creek, AZ)
  • Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue, Austin)
  • Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine, Austin)
  • Hugo Ortega (Hugo's, Houston)
  • Martín Rios (Restaurant Martín, Santa Fe, NM)
  • Justin Yu (Oxheart, Houston)

Eater endorses...

Aaron Franklin

Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)

  • Matthew Accarrino (SPQR, San Francisco)
  • Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions, San Francisco)
  • Michael Cimarusti (Providence, Los Angeles)
  • Corey Lee (Benu, San Francisco)
  • Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal, Los Angeles)

Eater endorses...

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo

Note: Eaters Restaurant Editor Bill Addison is on the Beard restaurant committee but had nothing to do with the creation of this post.

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