The biggest night in the restaurant world has rolled back around, preceded by plenty of excitement and a good deal of drama. The James Beard Foundation will announce Monday night, June 5, the winners of its Restaurant and Chef Awards.
This year’s finalists included exciting bright spots and BA favorites, like Cafe Mutton in Hudson, NY (one of BA’s 10 Best New Restaurants of 2022), Her Place Supper Club in Philadelphia, (one of our 50 Best New Restaurants of 2022), and a new Outstanding Bakery category featuring a tortilleria in Kansas City, MO. Hosted at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the black-tie ceremony draws intrigue from restaurateurs, chefs, and diners who regard the awards as a pinnacle of achievement in the food world.
In the past few years though, the intrigue surrounding the awards has leaned in the direction of scrutiny, as the foundation faces an ongoing flurry of controversy. This year’s ceremony is the second following a two-year hiatus, during which JBF launched an internal audit promising to radically overhaul its practices in the service of diversity, equity, and, more broadly, transparency. JBF’s much-anticipated return in 2022 was received positively, seeing a pool of winners markedly more diverse than in past years.
Still, the rollout of a new vetting process and updated disciplinary procedures for violating JBF’s code of ethics has been met with mixed reviews. Chefs and committee members have expressed discontent over a continued lack of transparency and communication regarding the disciplinary measures, and the foundation mostly refuses to shed light on its approach.
Despite it all, the show goes on. The Restaurant and Chef Awards remains one of the food world’s biggest events, and winning can help propel a chef’s career to new heights. Check back on Monday June 5 for the full list of Restaurant and Chef Award winners.