Jessica Koslow, Miles Thompson, Michael Cimarusti and more L.A. chefs named 2018 James Beard Award finalists

Jessica Koslow, Miles Thompson, Michael Cimarusti and more L.A. chefs named 2018 James Beard Award finalists
From left, Jessica Koslow, Miles Thompson and Michael Cimarusti have all been named James Beard Award finalists. (Mariah Tauger | Brian van der Brug | Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

The James Beard Foundation has named its finalists for its 2018 chef, restaurant and media awards, and among them, a crop of this city’s most talented chefs. The finalists were announced this morning at a ceremony in Philadelphia.

Sqirl chef Jessica Koslow, Gjelina’s Travis Lett, Providence’s Michael Cimarusti and Rustic Canyon’s Jeremy Fox (who is also a finalist for the Restaurant and Professional cookbook award) are all finalists for the Best Chef West award. Joining them in the category is Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.

Last year, the foundation named Cimarusti, Fox, Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec, Petit Trois, Trois Familia) and Lett as finalists, but gave the award to Corey Lee of Benu in San Francisco.


Miles Thompson, chef at Michael’s in Santa Monica, is a finalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year (given to chefs ages 30 or younger).

“I am unbelievably excited and humbled to have been chosen as a finalist for the James Beard Awards,” Thompson said this morning. “It has always been a dream of mine to be considered for this honor, and it is absolutely amazing and surreal that this is happening.”

Evan Funke’s Felix Trattoria in Venice and Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer’s Kismet in Los Feliz are both finalists for the Best New Restaurant award.


République’s Margarita Manzke is once again a finalist for the Best Pastry Chef award, and Lance Winters of St. George Spirits in Alameda is up for the Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional award.

Other local finalists include A.O.C., part of Suzanne Goin’s Lucques Group, which is a finalist for the Outstanding Wine Program award. Caroline Styne of the Lucques Group is also a finalist for the Outstanding Restaurateur award.

José Andrés, who has multiple restaurants at the SLS hotel in Beverly Hills, was named Humanitarian of the Year for his efforts in Puerto Rico, California and beyond.

And in the media awards, Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold was named a finalist for the Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review award.

For a full list of finalists, visit

This year's winners will be announced at the Lyric Opera in Chicago on May 7.