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Here Are the 2020 James Beard Awards Restaurant, Chef, and Media Finalists

The full list of nominees

The James Beard award medal, cast in bronze, with the likeness of James Beard surrounded with the words “James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence” against a black background.
Getty/Victor Spinelli/WireImage
Getty/Victor Spinelli/WireImage
Monica Burton is the deputy editor of

Today, on what would have been the 30th annual James Beard Awards ceremony, the James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for the 2020 James Beard Awards, which honors the year’s outstanding restaurants and chefs, as well as food journalism, books, and broadcast media. The announcement was originally scheduled for March 25, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the Foundation to cancel the planned Philadelphia event and postpone both the finalists reveal and the awards themselves.

COVID-19 has left the restaurant industry in a precarious position, to put it mildly. Restaurants are pivoting their operations to stay in business, closing temporarily, and in some cases, closing for good. When the Foundation opted to postpone the finalist announcement, it acknowledged that it did so in part to focus on rebuilding the restaurant industry, awards being the last thing on anyone’s mind. And so it came as a bit of a surprise when on April 27 the Foundation announced plans to move forward with a virtual finalist announcement and, eventually, the 2020 James Beard Awards. Today, the Foundation revealed the Restaurant and Chef Awards Gala will take place in late September, and the Media Awards will take place in late May.

In a post on the James Beard Foundation website, chief strategy officer Mitchell Davis explained that the Foundation consulted with chefs, restaurateurs, and others in the industry and determined that the James Beard Awards finalists, like the list of semifinalists announced in late February, deserved recognition for their work in 2019. “Those we consulted felt the Awards could also offer a glimmer of hope to an industry looking for light in a very dark time,” he writes. Davis acknowledged that it is also a particularly dark time for the media, which will be recognized for the first time in the 2020 James Beard Awards cycle with the finalists announcement.

Given the ongoing restrictions related to COVID-19, the format for the 2020 James Beard Awards is still undecided — but they will go on, and “take place” in Chicago at some date later this year. “We want every James Beard Award winner to have a chance to have their moment in the spotlight,” Mitchell writes. “We have partners who support this industry, who support the Foundation, who are willing to work with us to figure out what’s best for all.”

Visit Philadelphia, which stands to lose millions due to the coronavirus pandemic, is still sponsoring the virtual event. Last year, Houston hosted the finalist announcement and although there was plenty of Texas representation on the semifinalists list, including 11 chefs and restaurants from Houston, the city’s restaurants and chefs were completely shut out of the whittled down finalists list. Philadelphia didn’t see the same fate.

Below, the 2020 James Beard Awards finalists.

James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards Finalists

Best New Restaurant

A restaurant opened in the prior calendar year that already demonstrates excellence in cuisine and hospitality, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

  • Automatic Seafood & Oysters, Birmingham, AL
  • Demi, Minneapolis
  • Eem, Portland, OR
  • Fox & the Knife, Boston
  • Gado Gado, Portland, OR
  • Gianna, New Orleans
  • Kalaya, Philadelphia
  • Nightshade, Los Angeles
  • Pasjoli, Santa Monica, CA
  • Verjus, San Francisco

Outstanding Baker

A pastry chef or baker who demonstrates exceptional skill, integrity, and character in the preparation of desserts, pastries, or breads served in a retail bakery. Eligible candidates must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years. 

  • Graison Gill, Bellegarde Bakery, New Orleans
  • Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit, NYC
  • Lisa Ludwinski, Sister Pie, Detroit
  • Avery Ruzicka, Manresa Bread, Los Gatos, CA
  • Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery, Cambridge, MA

Outstanding Bar Program

A restaurant or bar that demonstrates exceptional care and skill in the selection, preparation, and serving of cocktails, spirits, and/or beer.

  • Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston
  • Expatriate, Portland, OR
  • Kimball House, Decatur, GA
  • Lost Lake, Chicago
  • Trick Dog, San Francisco

Outstanding Chef

A chef who sets high culinary standards and who has served as a positive example for other food professionals. Eligible candidates must have been working as a chef for the past five years.

  • David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
  • Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
  • Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans
  • Missy Robbins, Lilia, NYC
  • Ana Sortun, Oleana, Cambridge, MA
  • Marc Vetri, Vetri Cucina, Philadelphia

Outstanding Hospitality

A restaurant in operation for five or more years that demonstrates consistency and exceptional thoughtfulness in hospitality and service.

  • Brigtsen’s, New Orleans
  • Canlis, Seattle
  • Saison, San Francisco
  • Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco
  • Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI

Outstanding Pastry Chef

A pastry chef or baker who demonstrates exceptional skill, integrity, and character in the preparation of desserts, pastries, or breads served in a restaurant. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

  • Lincoln Carson, Bon Temps, Los Angeles
  • Juan Contreras, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
  • Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles
  • Diane Moua, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis
  • Natasha Pickowicz, Flora Bar, NYC
  • Miro Uskokovic, Gramercy Tavern, NYC

Outstanding Restaurant

A restaurant that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, service, and operations. Eligible candidates must have been in business 10 or more consecutive years.

  • FIG, Charleston, SC
  • Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, CO
  • Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
  • Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix
  • Quince, San Francisco

Outstanding Restaurateur

A restaurateur who demonstrates creativity in entrepreneurship and integrity in restaurant operations. Eligible candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years and they must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.

  • Paul Bartolotta, The Bartolotta Restaurants, Milwaukee (Ristorante Bartolotta, Harbor House, Lake Park Bistro, and others)
  • Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer, JK Food Group, Boston (Little Donkey, Toro, Coppa)
  • JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline Restaurant, New Orleans
  • Alex Raij and Eder Montero, NYC (La Vara, Saint Julivert Fisherie, Txikito)
  • Jason Wang, Xi’an Famous Foods, NYC

Outstanding Wine Program

A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in wine service through a carefully considered wine list and a well-informed approach to helping customers choose and drink wine.

  • Bacchanal, New Orleans
  • Canard, Portland, OR
  • Miller Union, Atlanta
  • Night + Market Sahm, Venice, CA
  • Spiaggia, Chicago

Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Producer

A beer, wine, or spirits producer who demonstrates consistency and exceptional skill in his or her craft.

  • Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall, High Wire Distilling Co., Charleston, SC
  • Cathy Corison, Corison Winery, St. Helena, CA
  • Drew Kulsveen, Willett Distillery, Bardstown, KY
  • Todd Leopold and Scott Leopold, Leopold Bros., Denver
  • Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA

Rising Star Chef of the Year

A chef age 30 or younger, born on or after January 1 in the year occurring thirty years prior to the award year in which such chef is to be considered for the award (e.g., January 1, 1976 for candidates to be considered in awards year 2006), who displays exceptional talent, character, and leadership ability, and who is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

  • Will Aghajanian and Liz Johnson, The Catbird Seat, Nashville
  • Irene Li, Mei Mei, Boston
  • Gaby Maeda, State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
  • Ashleigh Shanti, Benne on Eagle, Asheville, NC
  • Paola Velez, Kith/Kin, Washington, D.C.
  • Jon Yao, Kato, Los Angeles

Best Chefs

Chefs who set high culinary standards and also demonstrate integrity and admirable leadership skills in their respective regions. A nominee may be from any kind of dining establishment but must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region.

Best Chef: California

  • Jeremy Fox, Birdie G’s, Santa Monica, CA
  • Brandon Jew, Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco
  • Jessica Koslow, Sqirl, Los Angeles
  • Mourad Lahlou, Mourad, San Francisco
  • Joshua Skenes, Angler, San Francisco
  • Pim Techamuanvivit, Kin Khao, San Francisco

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

  • Gene Kato, Momotaro, Chicago
  • Jason Hammel, Lula Cafe, Chicago
  • Noah Sandoval, Oriole, Chicago
  • John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, Smyth, Chicago
  • Erick Williams, Virtue, Chicago
  • Lee Wolen, Boka, Chicago

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

  • Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C.
  • Nicholas Elmi, Laurel, Philadelphia
  • Rich Landau, Vedge, Philadelphia
  • Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa, Philadelphia
  • Jon Sybert, Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.
  • Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore

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

  • Steven Brown, Tilia, Minneapolis
  • Michael Corvino, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, Kansas City, MO
  • Michael Gallina, Vicia, St. Louis
  • Jamie Malone, Grand Café, Minneapolis
  • Christina Nguyen, Hai Hai, Minneapolis

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

  • Carrie Baird, Bar Dough, Denver
  • Jen Castle and Blake Spalding, Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, Boulder, UT
  • Jeff Drew, Snake River Grill, Jackson, WY
  • Caroline Glover, Annette, Aurora, CO
  • Dana Rodriguez, Super Mega Bien, Denver
  • Kelly Whitaker, The Wolf’s Tailor, Denver

Best Chef: New York State

  • Sean Gray, Momofuku Ko, NYC
  • Brooks Headley, Superiority Burger, NYC
  • Junghyun Park, Atomix, NYC
  • Daniela Soto-Innes, ATLA, NYC
  • Alex Stupak, Empellón, NYC

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

  • Vien Dobui, CÔNG TỬ BỘT, Portland, ME
  • Ben Jackson, Drifters Wife, Portland, ME
  • Tiffani Faison, Orfano, Boston
  • Krista Kern Desjarlais, The Purple House, North Yarmouth, ME
  • Greg Mitchell and Chad Conley, Palace Diner, Biddeford, ME
  • Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA

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

  • Peter Cho, Han Oak, Portland, OR
  • Gregory Gourdet, Departure, Portland, OR
  • Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush, Senia, Honolulu
  • Katy Millard, Coquine, Portland, OR
  • Kristen Murray, MÅURICE, Portland, OR
  • Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, FL, LA, MS)

  • Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, PR
  • Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans
  • Michael Gulotta, Maypop, New Orleans
  • Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf, New Orleans
  • Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery, New Orleans

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

  • Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC
  • Cassidee Dabney, The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
  • Cheetie Kumar, Garland, Raleigh, NC
  • Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis, TN
  • Julia Sullivan, Henrietta Red, Nashville

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

  • Dan Krohmer, Other Mama, Las Vegas
  • Jonathan Perno, Campo at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM
  • Chrysa Robertson, Rancho Pinot, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café Gran Reserva, Phoenix
  • Jeff Smedstad, Elote Cafe, Sedona, AZ
  • James Trees, Esther’s Kitchen, Las Vegas

Best Chef: Texas

  • Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye, Austin
  • Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie, Austin
  • Anita Jaisinghani, Pondicheri, Houston
  • Steve McHugh, Cured, San Antonio
  • Trong Nguyen, Crawfish & Noodles, Houston

America’s Classics Awards

Previously announced

  • El Taco de Mexico, Denver, Colorado
  • Lassis Inn, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Oriental Mart, Seattle, Washington
  • Puritan Backroom, Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que, Brownsville, Texas
  • Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, Frankenmouth, Michigan

Humanitarian of the Year:

Jessica B. Harris

Leadership Awards:

  • Phillip and Dorathy E. Barker, Operations Spring Plant
  • Rosalinda Guillen, Community to Community Development (C2C)
  • Abiodun Henderson, The Come Up Project
  • Mark and Kerry Marhefka of Abundant Seafood
  • Caleb Zigas, La Cocina

James Beard Restaurant Design Awards

Design Icon

Chez Panisse, Berkeley, CA

Outstanding Restaurant Design, 75 Seats and Under:
For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2017.

  • Firms: SIMPLICITY; Project: HALL by o.d.o
  • Firms: Heliotrope Architects; Project: Rupee, Seattle
  • Firms: Spoonbill Watering Hole and Restaurant, Flywheel Co. and Vermillion Architects, LLC; Project: Spoonbill Watering Hole and Restaurant, Lafayette, LA

Outstanding Restaurant Design, 76 Seats and Over:
For the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2017.

  • Firms: Hacin + Associates; Project: Shore Leave, Boston
  • Firms: Ken Fulk Inc; Project: Swan & Bar Bevy, Miami
  • Firms: Klein Agency and ORA; Project: auburn, Los Angeles

Outstanding Design of Alternative Eating & Drinking Places
Eligible establishments include places where prepared food and/or beverages are served for consumption on premises (except in the case of food trucks or takeout counters) but not for markets, farm stands, food shops or groceries where ingredients are sold for preparation elsewhere. This category, added in 2019, recognizes that the nature of restaurants is changing, and food is sold and consumed in a variety of environments that do not necessarily qualify as traditional full-service restaurants.

  • Firms: Lori Chemla; Project: Carissa’s the Bakery, East Hampton, NY
  • Firms: Stonehill Taylor, MCR/Morse Development and Aaron Sciandra; Project: Connie, Queens, NY
  • Firms: Studio Dewberry and Workstead; Project: Citrus Club, Charleston, SC

2020 James Beard Foundation Book Awards Finalists

For cookbooks and other non-fiction food- or beverage-related books that were published in the U.S. in 2019. Winners, including the Book of the Year Award and the Cookbook Hall of Fame inductee will be announced on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

Books with recipes focused on the cooking or foodways of regions or communities in the United States.

  • Cook Like a Local: Flavors That Can Change How You Cook and See the World; Chris Shepherd and Kaitlyn Goalen, (Clarkson Potter)
  • Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking; Toni Tipton-Martin, (Clarkson Potter)
  • South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations; Sean Brock, (Artisan Books)

Baking and Desserts
Books with recipes focused on breads, pastries, desserts, and other treats.

  • Dappled: Baking Recipes for Fruit Lovers; Nicole Rucker, (Avery)
  • Living Bread: Tradition and Innovation in Artisan Bread Making; Daniel Leader and Lauren Chattman, (Avery)
  • Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes; Joanne Chang, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Beverage with Recipes
Books focused on recipes for how to make beverages.

  • Last Call: Bartenders on Their Final Drink and the Wisdom and Rituals of Closing Time; Brad Thomas Parsons, (Ten Speed Press)
  • The Martini Cocktail: A Meditation on the World’s Greatest Drink, with Recipes; Robert Simonson, (Ten Speed Press)
  • The NoMad Cocktail Book; Leo Robitschek, (Ten Speed Press)

Beverage without Recipes
Beverage-focused books and guides that either don’t contain recipes or that may have minimal recipes but aren’t recipe-centric.

  • The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks: Sake, Shochu, Japanese Whisky, Beer, Wine, Cocktails and Other Beverages; Stephen Lyman and Chris Bunting, (Tuttle Publishing)
  • Red & White: An Unquenchable Thirst for Wine; Oz Clarke, (Little, Brown Book Group)
  • World Atlas of Wine 8th Edition; Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, (Mitchell Beazley)

Books with recipes that address a broad scope of cooking, not just a single topic, technique or region.

  • All About Dinner: Simple Meals, Expert Advice; Molly Stevens, (W. W. Norton & Company)
  • Milk Street: The New Rules: Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook; Christopher Kimball, (Voracious)
  • Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook; Carla Lalli Music, (Clarkson Potter)

Health and Special Diets
Books with recipes related to health and nutrition, or that address specific health issues, such as allergies or diabetes.

  • The Beauty Chef Gut Guide: With 90+ Delicious Recipes and Weekly Meal Plans; Carla Oates, (Hardie Grant Books)
  • Cannelle et Vanille: Nourishing, Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Meal and Mood; Aran Goyoaga, (Sasquatch Books)
  • Gluten-Free Baking at Home: 102 Foolproof Recipes for Delicious Breads, Cakes, Cookies, and More; Jeffrey Larsen, (Ten Speed Press)


Books with recipes focused on food and cooking traditions of countries or regions outside of the United States.

  • Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes – Through Darkness and Light; Caroline Eden, (Quadrille Publishing)
  • Ethiopia: Recipes and Traditions from the Horn of Africa; Yohanis Gebreyesus, (Interlink Publishing)
  • The Food of Sichuan; Fuchsia Dunlop, (W. W. Norton & Company)


  • American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta; Eric Wolfinger, (Chronicle Books)
  • Le Corbuffet: Edible Art and Design Classics; Esther Choi, (Prestel)
  • Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico; Quentin Bacon, (Abrams Books)

Reference, History, and Scholarship
Includes manuals, guides, encyclopedias, and books that present research related to food or foodways.

  • Gandhi’s Search for the Perfect Diet: Eating with the World in Mind; Nico Slate, (University of Washington Press)
  • A South You Never Ate: Savoring Flavors and Stories from the Eastern Shore of Virginia; Bernard L. Herman, (The University of North Carolina Press)
  • The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration; Chris Smith, (Chelsea Green Publishing)

Restaurant and Professional
Books written by a culinary professional or restaurant chef with recipes that may include advanced cooking techniques, use specialty ingredients, and require professional equipment. This includes culinary arts textbooks.

  • Dishoom: From Bombay with Love; Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar, and Naved Nasir, (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Eleven Madison Park: The Next Chapter, Revised and Unlimited Edition; Daniel Humm, (Ten Speed Press)
  • The Whole Fish Cookbook: New Ways to Cook, Eat and Think; Josh Niland, (Hardie Grant Books)

Single Subject
Books with recipes focused on a single or category of ingredients, a dish, or a method of cooking – such as lobster, seafood, grains, pasta, burgers, or canning. Exceptions: baking and desserts books, vegetable-focused books, health and special diets books, restaurant and professional books, and beverage books should be entered in those respective categories.

  • From the Oven to the Table: Simple Dishes That Look After Themselves; Diana Henry, (Mitchell Beazley)
  • Pasta Grannies: The Official Cookbook: The Secrets of Italy’s Best Home Cooks; Vicky Bennison, (Hardie Grant Books)
  • Sour: The Magical Element That Will Transform Your Cooking; Mark Diacono, (Quadrille Publishing)

Vegetable-Focused Cooking
Books that feature recipes for how to prepare and serve vegetables and plant-based ingredients. Books may be vegetarian, vegan, or vegetable-focused with minimal reference to meats.

  • Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables; Abra Berens, (Chronicle Books)
  • Vegetables Illustrated: An Inspiring Guide with 700+ Kitchen-Tested Recipes; Editors at America’s Test Kitchen, (America’s Test Kitchen)
  • Whole Food Cooking Every Day: Transform the Way You Eat with 250 Vegetarian Recipes Free of Gluten, Dairy, and Refined Sugar; Amy Chaplin, (Artisan Books)

Narrative nonfiction books, including memoirs, culinary tourism, investigative journalism, food advocacy, and critical analysis of food and foodways for a general audience.

  • Eat Like a Fish: My Adventures as a Fisherman Turned Restorative Ocean Farmer; Bren Smith, (Knopf)
  • Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir; Kwame Onwuachi with Joshua David Stein, (Knopf)
  • Women on Food: Charlotte Druckman and 115 Writers, Chefs, Critics, Television Stars, and Eaters; Charlotte Druckman, (Abrams Press)

2020 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Awards Finalists

For radio, television broadcasts, podcasts, webcasts, and documentaries appearing in 2019. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

Audio Program

  • The Food Programme – The Search for Esiah’s Seeds; Airs on: BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds
  • It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chili; Airs on: Audible
  • The Sporkful – When White People Say Plantation; Airs on: iTunes, Sporkful, Spotify, and Stitcher

Audio Reporting

  • California Foodways – The Curious Second Life of a Prather Ranch Cow: Biomedical Research; Trans Man Finds – and Creates – Refuge in His Family’s Small-Town Cafe; Legalizing Cannabis Impacts Food, Farming in Humboldt; Reporter: Lisa Morehouse; Airs on: KQED, California Foodways, iTunes, Google Play, Radio Public, SoundCloud, and Stitcher
  • Food Actually – Junk Food Actually; Reporter: Tamar Adler; Airs on: Luminary
  • Gravy – Mahalia Jackson’s Glori-Fried Chicken; Reporter: Betsy Shepherd; Airs on: and iTunes


  • Harvest Season; Airs on: PBS
  • Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy; Airs on: Premiered at SXSW in March 2019
  • That’s My Jazz; Airs on: Vimeo

Online Video, Fixed Location and/or Instructional

  • Chef Studio: The Crumby Bits – Cricket Macarons; Airs on: YouTube
  • Grace Young – Wok Therapist; Airs on: and YouTube
  • Ready Jet Cook - How to Make Pad Thai with Jet Tila; Airs on: and YouTube

Online Video, on Location

  • Eat, Drink, Share, Puerto Rico Food – El Burén de Lula; Airs on: YouTube
  • Handmade – How Knives Are Made for New York’s Best Restaurants; How a Ceramics Master Makes Plates for Michelin-Starred Restaurants; Airs on: Eater and YouTube
  • In Real Life – Why Eating This Fish Could Save Coral Reefs; Airs on: YouTube and AJ+

Outstanding Personality/Host

  • Alton Brown, Good Eats: The Return; Airs on: Food Network
  • David Chang, Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner; Airs on: Netflix
  • Roy Choi; Broken Bread with Roy Choi; Airs on: Tastemade and KCET

Television Program, in Studio or Fixed Location

  • Good Eats: The Return – American Classic: Chicken Parm; Airs on: Food Network
  • Lidia’s Kitchen – Trattoria Favorites; Airs on: PBS
  • Pati’s Mexican Table – A Local’s Tour of Culiacán; Airs on: WETA; distributed nationally by American Public Television

Television Program, on Location

  • Chef’s Table – Asma Khan; Airs on: Netflix
  • Las Crónicas del Taco (Taco Chronicles) – Canasta; Airs on: Netflix
  • Street Food – Bangkok, Thailand; Airs on: Netflix

Visual and Audio Technical Excellence

  • Chef’s Table; Adam Bricker, Chloe Weaver, and Will Basanta; Airs on: Netflix
  • Street Food; Alexander D. Paul, Matthew Chavez, and Shane Reed; Airs on: Netflix
  • The Taste of Place – Wild Rice; Jesse Roesler and Kevin Russell; Airs on: Vimeo

Visual Reporting (on TV or Online)

  • Fork the System – Moro Food of Muslim Mindanao: This is Filipino, Too; Reporters: Joi Lee and HyoJin Park; Airs on: Al Jazeera English Digital, YouTube, and Facebook
  • In Real Life– Why This $300 Clam Is so Important to Native Americans and China; Reporters: AJ+ Staff; Airs on: YouTube and AJ+
  • Rotten – The Avocado War; Reporters: Christine Haughney, Erin Cauchi, and Gretchen Goetz; Airs on: Netflix

2020 James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards Finalists

For articles published in English in 2019. Winners, including the Emerging Voice Award, will be announced on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.


  • What She’s Having: “Popeyes’ Fried Chicken Sandwich: A Delicious Distraction, a Cultural Lesson”; “Every Season Is Soup Season”; “Why a Somali Nook in East Boston Is One of the Country’s Best New Restaurants” — Devra First, The Boston Globe
  • Power Rankings: “The Official Fast Food French Fry Power Rankings”; “The Official Spicy Snack Power Rankings”; “The Official Domestic Beer Power Rankings” — Lucas Kwan Peterson, Los Angeles Times
  • Rooted in Place: “In Service”; “Hair, Food, and Hustle”; “The Best That We’ve Got” — Rosalind Bentley, Gravy

Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award

  • “Le Colonial Is an Orientalist Specter”; “The Ultimate Chaat Truck Crawl”; “The Fantasy — and Reality — of Dining at Chez Panisse” — Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle
  • “NYC’s Buzziest New Sushi Parlors Are Transcendent, If You Can Handle the Bros”; “Wall Street’s Underground Russian Spa Is a Dining Destination for the Soul”; “Estiatorio Milos Is One of the Last Big Restaurant Scams in New York” — Ryan Sutton, Eater NY
  • “Peter Luger Used to Sizzle. Now It Sputters.”; “The 20 Most Delicious Things at Mercado Little Spain”; “Benno, Proudly Out of Step With the Age” — Pete Wells, The New York Times

Dining and Travel

  • “In Pursuit of the Perfect Pizza” — Matt Goulding, Airbnb Magazine
  • “Interview With the Vampiro” — Dylan James Ho, Taste
  • “These Are the World’s Best Restaurants: North America, South America, Africa and Middle East” — Besha Rodell, Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine

Feature Reporting

  • America’s farmers in crisis during Trump’s trade wars: “Left Behind: Farmers Fight to Save Their Land in Rural Minnesota as Trade War Intensifies”; “’I’m Gonna Lose Everything’: A Farm Family Struggles to Recover after Rising Debt Pushes a Husband to Suicide”; “In Trump Country, a Season of Need on Family Farms” — Annie Gowen, The Washington Post
  • “The Great Land Robbery” — Vann R. Newkirk II, The Atlantic
  • “Value Meal” — Tad Friend, The New Yorker

Food Coverage in a General Interest Publication

  • The Bitter Southerner
  • Gastro Obscura
  • The New Yorker


  • “An Indigenous Community in Mexico Finds Its Voice — and Strength — in Wild Mushrooms” — Michael Snyder, Los Angeles Times
  • “On Hawaii, the Fight for Taro’s Revival” — Ligaya Mishan, T: The New York Times Style Magazine
  • “A Real Hot Mess: How Grits Got Weaponized Against Cheating Men” — Cynthia R. Greenlee, MUNCHIES | Food by VICE

Health and Wellness

  • “The AGEs Puzzle: How We Cook Food Is Killing Us. Scientists in SC Know Why.”; “9 Easy Ways to Eat Fewer AGEs: A Stress-Free Guide” — Tony Bartelme, The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
  • “How Washington Keeps America Sick and Fat”; “Meet the Silicon Valley Investor Who Wants Washington to Figure Out What You Should Eat” — Catherine Boudreau and Helena Bottemiller Evich, Politico
  • “Protein Nation” — Shaun Dreisbach, EatingWell

Home Cooking

  • “6 Holiday Cookies That Will Win You the Cookie Swap” — Hilary Cadigan and Rick Martinez, Bon Appétit
  • “Fry Time” — Nancy Singleton Hachisu, Saveur
  • “In Praise of Schmaltz” — Rachel Handler, Grub Street

Innovative Storytelling

  • “Best New Restaurants 2019” — Kevin Alexander, Nicole A. Taylor, and Adriana Velez, Thrillist
  • “Food and Loathing on the Campaign Trail” — Gary He, Matt Buchanan, and Meghan McCarron, Eater
  • “Made in America” — Tim Carman and Shelly Tan, The Washington Post

Investigative Reporting

  • “How USDA Distorted Data to Conceal Decades of Discrimination Against Black Farmers” — Nathan Rosenberg and Bryce Wilson Stucki, The Counter
  • “‘The Man Who Attacked Me Works in Your Kitchen’: Victim of Serial Groper Took Justice into Her Own Hands” — Amy Brittain and Maura Judkis, The Washington Post
  • “The Young Hands That Feed Us” — Karen Coates and Valeria Fernández, Pacific Standard

Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award

  • “Forget Democratic Votes. Which Presidential Hopeful Will Eat 16 Iconic SC Foods First?”; “A James Island Meat-and-Two Secretly Switched to Carolina Gold Rice. Here’s What Happened.”; “In Prisons Across South Carolina, It’s Not a Birthday Without Cake Made by a Fellow Inmate” — Hanna Raskin, The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
  • “In Search of Hot Beef”; “Chef Jack Riebel Is in the Fight of His Life”; “Harry Singh on the Perfect Roti, Trinidad, and Life in the Kitchen” — Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine
  • “In a Wheelchair and Hungry”; “Where to Eat Regionally Inspired Mexican Food in New York City”; “How Sichuan Became NYC’s Dominant Chinese Cuisine” — Robert Sietsema, Eater NY

M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award

  • “A Mind to Stay Here” — Rosalind Bentley, Gravy
  • “My Mother’s Catfish Stew” — John T. Edge, Oxford American
  • “An Undeserved Gift” — Shane Mitchell, The Bitter Southerner

Personal Essay, Long Form

  • “The Dysfunction of Food” — Kim Foster,
  • “Love, Peace, and Taco Grease: How I Left My Abusive Husband and Found Guy Fieri” — Rax King, Catapult
  • “Seeking Jewish Identity at the Sabra Hummus Factory” — Orr Shtuhl, The Forward

Personal Essay, Short Form

  • “For 20 Years, happy hour has seen us through work — and life” — M. Carrie Allan, The Washington Post
  • “How the Starbucks Macchiato Ruined My Indie Coffee Shop Experiences” — Nicole A. Taylor, Thrillist
  • “In Memoriam of Hominy Grill, the Restaurant That Defined Charleston” — Ali Rosen, Plate


  • “First Course” — Zoe Tennant, Granta
  • “The Fruit Saver” — Tejal Rao, Women on Food, (Abrams Press)
  • “The Provocations of Chef Tunde Wey” — Brett Martin, GQ Magazine

Wine, Spirits, and Other Beverages

  • “How Climate Change Impacts Wine” — Eric Asimov, The New York Times
  • “May I Help You With That Wine List?” — Ray Isle, Food & Wine
  • “Seltzer Is Over. Mineral Water Is Forever.” — Jordan Michelman, PUNCH

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.