The James Beard Foundation Awards are among the highest honors in the American food world. Semifinalists for the restaurant and chef awards were revealed on January 24. Finalists in those categories will be announced will be announced on April 3 and winners will be revealed at a gala ceremony in Chicago on June 10. Media awards nominees — including everything from cookbooks to podcasts to TV shows — will be revealed on April 30, and awarded on June 8. The America’s Classics winners, an award that honors “locally owned restaurants with timeless appeal,” will be announced in late February.
The 2024 awards are the Foundation’s third ceremony following an extensive audit, and will, like the 2022 and 2023 awards, feature a few new key protocols, including a different way of surfacing talent, nominee personal statements, and different awards categories. The canceled 2020 ceremony was, broadly speaking, a mess; the foundation initially blamed the pandemic, but reporting also suggested that it canceled the awards because there were no Black winners, and because of concerns around allegations of bullying and sexism among nominees. Some chefs voluntarily took themselves out of consideration, while others were reportedly told they were being dismissed. The 2021 program was canceled to allow enough time to do the audit and implement changes. All told, the foundation lost a lot of credibility around its most high-profile contribution to America’s culinary landscape: its award program.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.