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Michael Cimarusti finally wins the James Beard Award for Best Chef: West

After eight nominations with zero wins, Providence chef Michael Cimarusti finally earns a James Beard Award, for Best Chef: West.

After nine nominations, Providence chef Michael Cimarusti has won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: West.

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Cimarusti, who is credited with taking the Los Angeles dining scene to another level when he opened Providence in 2005, is also behind Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood, Best Girl at the Ace Hotel downtown and Il Pesce Cucina at Eataly. The chef was nominated alongside some of Los Angeles’ most celebrated chefs for the award, including Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon, Sqirl’s Jessica Koslow and Travis Lett of Gjelina.

“I want to thank my partner in life and my partner in business who, through the past 25 years, I never ever would have gotten through these struggles without," Cimarusti said of his wife, Crisi Echiverri, at Monday night’s awards ceremony, held at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

“I feel and I think everyone who works at the restaurant is so proud and so happy,” Providence bar director Kim Stodel said. “I know he has been up for the award for many years and we certainly feel like he’s been overlooked. I don’t think anyone knows how hard he works and how we much we feel he’s deserving of recognition.”

The James Beard Award winners and nominees are chosen each year by a group of media and culinary professionals from around the country. During the media awards gala in New York City in late April, Jonathan Gold was posthumously awarded the Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award and a new award was created in his honor.

Pho 79, in Garden Grove, was also named an American Classic (an award the Beard Foundation describes as “given to regional establishments, often family-owned, that are cherished for their quality food, local character, and lasting appeal”) during Monday night’s ceremony.

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