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These chefs and restaurants are the 2024 James Beard Award winners

By Marnie Hunter, CNN

(CNN) — The Oscars of the food world — the James Beard Awards — were handed out Monday night to many chefs and restaurants reflecting cultures and regions that have long been overlooked when honoring culinary achievement in the United States.

At Dakar NOLA, winner of Best New Restaurant, Chef Serigne Mbaye blends his West African roots with the ingredients of New Orleans on a modern Senegalese tasting menu.

“I always knew that West Africa had something to say,” Mbaye said at the awards ceremony at the Lyric Opera in Chicago, even as he cooked classic Creole and French cuisine at other restaurants. “That kept me going.”

The Outstanding Restaurant winner, Langbaan in Portland, Oregon, transforms classic Thai food with Pacific Northwest ingredients on a five-course tasting menu.

Outstanding Chef winner Michael Rafidi dedicated his award to Palestinian people all over the world in his acceptance speech. Rafidi’s creative twists on traditional Arabic cuisine at Albi, his Michelin-starred Washington, DC restaurant, are inspired by his family’s roots in Ramallah.

The 2024 winners bring heritage from all over the globe — the Philippines, Mexico, Japan, Peru, Vietnam, Senegal — to tables across the United States. This year’s awards also bring recognition to restaurants in many smaller towns and states that have not historically been recognized with James Beard Awards.

“Two words that have never been mentioned here before: West Virginia,” said Paul Smith, chef at 1010 Bridge in Charleston, West Virginia, and winner of Best Chef: Southeast. Lula Drake Wine Parlour in Columbia, South Carolina, earned the award for Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program. Chefs in Mission, Texas; Mystic, Connecticut; and Easton, Maryland all received honors.

For some winners, the awards seem to represent the culmination of a fortuitous change of course.

Masako Morishita grew up in Japan and eventually moved to Washington, DC to be a cheerleader for the Washington Commanders. Atsuko Fujimoto arrived in Portland, Maine, 23 years ago from Tokyo with no professional kitchen experience.

They forged new careers in the culinary world.

“Wow, this is my wildest American dream came true,” said Morishita, who received the Emerging Chef Award for her Japanese comfort food at Perry’s, a decades-old restaurant in DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood that has been revived under Morishita.

Fujimoto, of Norimoto Bakery in Portland, Maine, received the Outstanding Baker award.

Challenging times

Many of the challenges facing the restaurant industry — and the wider culture — were addressed over the course of the evening: climate change, sustainability, inclusivity and mental health.

A handful of honorees received achievement awards on Monday night. That group included legendary food writer, editor, novelist and television personality Ruth Reichl, who worked as a food critic at The New York Times and editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine and was honored for Lifetime Achievement.

Reichl thanked the James Beard Foundation and the assembled food world luminaries for the transformation of American food culture that she’s seen in her lifetime.

“You changed the way we eat, created a delicious revolution and a world where people finally, finally understand that eating is an ethical act and that our food choices really matter. It gives me hope for the future,” she said.

Prior to the ceremony, which was livestreamed via website Eater, Reichl was asked on the event’s red carpet about the origin of the term “Oscars of the food world.” To her surprise, she was told that she coined it in her report from the very first awards more than three decades ago.

The nonprofit James Beard Foundation was established in 1986, shortly after “pioneer foodie” James Beard’s death, “to celebrate, support and elevate the people behind America’s food culture.” The first awards ceremony was held in 1991.

Beard was the host of “I Love to Eat,” the first food program on network television in 1946 and was called the “Dean of American Cookery” by The New York Times in 1954.

The foundation, which has faced controversy in recent years, in 2022 introduced new policies and procedures and a new code of ethics sparked by criticism about a lack of diversity and allegations of chefs’ bad behavior. Last year, the process of vetting chef behavior led to its own controversy.

Some of the night’s winners expressed hopes that changes within the industry will continue to improve culinary culture.

“My only hope as I stand here today is that we can continue as an industry to do the right thing. We can continue to seek diversity and inclusion and female-led teams as things that are extremely effective,” said Gregory Gourdet, who won his third James Beard Award in three years on Monday, taking home the award for Best Chef: Pacific Northwest.

Gourdet spoke of his move to Portland, Oregon, in 2008 from New York, leaving rehab early, “broken and miserable,” and finding his purpose as a chef creating a hub for Haitian culture at his restaurant Kann.

“I hope that if we can slowly continue to do the right thing that the next generation has it a little bit better than we do, and the generation after that has it even better than they did. And we can just get rid of this generational trauma that’s been affecting us and holding us hostage in our industry.”

Restaurant and Chef Awards (2024 finalists and winners

Outstanding Restaurateur

Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere, Baobab Fare, Detroit, MI

Quynh-Vy and Yenvy Pham, Phở Bắc Súp Shop, Phởcific Standard Time, and The Boat, Seattle, WA

Chris Viaud, Greenleaf, Ansanm, and Pavilion, Milford and Wolfeboro, NH

Hollis Wells Silverman, Eastern Point Collective (The Duck & The Peach, Méli, The Wells, and others), Washington, D.C.

WINNER: Erika Whitaker and Kelly Whitaker, ID EST (The Wolf’s Tailor, BRUTØ, Basta, and others), Boulder, CO

Outstanding Chef

Sarah Minnick, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, Portland, OR

Dean Neff, Seabird, Wilmington, NC

WINNER: Michael Rafidi, Albi, Washington, D.C.

Renee Touponce, The Port of Call, Mystic, CT

David Uygur, Lucia, Dallas, TX

Outstanding Restaurant

The Compound, Santa Fe, NM

Convenience West, Marfa, TX

WINNER: Langbaan, Portland, OR

Mixtli, San Antonio, TX

Vestige, Ocean Springs, MS

Emerging Chef

Fariyal Abdullahi, Hav & Mar, New York, NY

Janet Becerra, Pancita, Seattle, WA

Nikko Cagalanan, Kultura, Charleston, SC

Ryan Fernandez, Southern Junction, Buffalo, NY

WINNER: Masako Morishita, Perry’s, Washington, D.C.

Best New Restaurant

Bar Bacetto, Waitsburg, WA

Barbs-B-Q, Lockhart, TX

Chez Noir, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

Comfort Kitchen, Dorchester, MA

WINNER: Dakar NOLA, New Orleans, LA

Hayward, McMinnville, OR

Kaya, Orlando, FL

Kisser, Nashville, TN

Oro by Nixta, Minneapolis, MN

Shan, Bozeman, MT

Outstanding Bakery

The Burque Bakehouse, Albuquerque, NM

Gusto Bread, Long Beach, CA

JinJu Patisserie, Portland, OR

Mel the Bakery, Hudson, NY

WINNER: ZU Bakery, Portland, ME

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

Susan Bae, Moon Rabbit, Washington, D.C.

Jesus Brazon and Manuel Brazon, Caracas Bakery, Doral and Miami, FL

WINNER: Atsuko Fujimoto, Norimoto Bakery, Portland, ME

Crystal Kass, Valentine, Phoenix, AZ

Anna Posey, Elske, Chicago, IL

Outstanding Hospitality

Crawford and Son, Raleigh, NC

Gemma, Dallas, TX

WINNER: Lula Cafe, Chicago, IL

Melba’s, New York, NY

Woodford Food & Beverage, Portland, ME

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

WINNER: Lula Drake Wine Parlour, Columbia, SC

The Morris, San Francisco, CA

Strong Water Anaheim, Anaheim, CA

Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.

Waxlight Bar à Vin, Buffalo, NY

Outstanding Bar

Barr Hill Cocktail Bar, Montpelier, VT

Clavel Mezcaleria, Baltimore, MD

WINNER: Jewel of the South, New Orleans, LA

Las Ramblas, Brownsville, TX

Pacific Cocktail Haven, San Francisco, CA

BEST CHEFS (by region)

Best Chef: California

Geoff Davis, Burdell, Oakland, CA

Rogelio Garcia, Auro, Calistoga, CA

WINNER: Lord Maynard Llera, Kuya Lord, Los Angeles, CA

Tara Monsod, Animae, San Diego, CA

Buu “Billy” Ngo, Kru, Sacramento, CA

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

Vinnie Cimino, Cordelia, Cleveland, OH

Jose Salazar, Mita’s, Cincinnati, OH

Sujan Sarkar, Indienne, Chicago, IL

WINNER: Hajime Sato, Sozai, Clawson, MI

Jenner Tomaska, Esmé, Chicago, IL

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

Tony Conte, Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, Darnestown, MD

Jesse Ito, Royal Sushi & Izakaya, Philadelphia, PA

Matt Kern, One Coastal, Fenwick Island, DE

WINNER: Harley Peet, Bas Rouge, Easton, MD

Kevin Tien, Moon Rabbit, Washington, D.C.

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

Ann Ahmed, Khâluna, Minneapolis, MN

Rob Connoley, Bulrush, St. Louis, MO

Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, EsterEv, Milwaukee, WI

WINNER: Christina Nguyen, Hai Hai, Minneapolis, MN

Tim Nicholson, The Boiler Room, Omaha, NE

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

Brandon Cunningham, Social Haus, Greenough, MT

Ali Sabbah, Mazza Cafe, Salt Lake City, UT

WINNER: Matt Vawter, Rootstalk, Breckenridge, CO

Penelope Wong, Yuan Wonton, Denver, CO

Nick Zocco, Urban Hill, Salt Lake City, UT

Best Chef: New York State

Nasim Alikhani, Sofreh, Brooklyn, NY

Atsushi Kono, Kono, New York, NY

Chris Mauricio, Harana Market, Accord, NY

WINNER: Charlie Mitchell, Clover Hill, Brooklyn, NY

Jeremy Salamon, Agi’s Counter, Brooklyn, NY

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

Conor Dennehy, Talulla, Cambridge, MA

Maria Meza, Dolores, Providence, RI

WINNER: David Standridge, The Shipwright’s Daughter, Mystic, CT

Jake Stevens, Leeward, Portland, ME

Cara Tobin, Honey Road, Burlington, VT

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

Avery Adams, Matia Kitchen, Orcas Island, WA

Kristi Brown, Communion, Seattle, WA

Josh Dorcak, MÄS, Ashland, OR

WINNER: Gregory Gourdet, kann, Portland, OR

Melissa Miranda, Musang, Seattle, WA

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

Jamie Davis, The Hackney, Washington, NC

Rod Lassiter and Parnass Savang, Talat Market, Atlanta, GA

James London, Chubby Fish, Charleston, SC

Robbie Robinson, City Limits Barbeque, West Columbia, SC

WINNER: Paul Smith, 1010 Bridge, Charleston, WV

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

WINNER: Valerie Chang, Maty’s, Miami, FL

Hunter Evans, Elvie’s, Jackson, MS

Gabriel Hernandez, Verde Mesa, San Juan, PR

Carlos Portela, Orujo, San Juan, PR

Arvinder Vilkhu, Saffron, New Orleans, LA

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

WINNER: Rene Andrade, Bacanora, Phoenix, AZ

Jeff Chanchaleune, Ma Der Lao Kitchen, Oklahoma City, OK

Steve Kestler, Aroma Latin American Cocina, Henderson, NV

Steve Riley, Mesa Provisions, Albuquerque, NM

Eduardo Rodriguez, Zacatlán, Santa Fe, NM

Best Chef: Texas

Emmanuel Chavez, Tatemó, Houston, TX

Christopher Cullum, Cullum’s Attaboy, San Antonio, TX

Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel, Birdie’s, Austin, TX

Misti Norris, Petra & the Beast, Dallas, TX

WINNER: Ana Liz Pulido, Ana Liz Taqueria, Mission, TX

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