Amid deep uncertainty in the restaurant world, nine Los Angeles restaurants and chefs were named finalists for the prestigious James Beard Awards on Monday.
Sqirl chef Jessica Koslow and Birdie G’s chef Jeremy Fox were named finalists for the Best Chef California award, while Mei Lin’s Nightshade in the Arts District and Dave Beran’s Pasjoli in Santa Monica were named finalists for Best New Restaurant.
In the Best Pastry Chef category, longstanding nominee Margarita Manzke of République is once again a finalist, along with veteran chef Lincoln Carson, whose Bon Temps in the Arts District closed permanently last week due to financial challenges brought on by the ongoing restaurant shutdown.
Other L.A. nods include Jon Yao of Kato for the Rising Star of the Year award (his third consecutive year as a nominee in that category) and Night + Market’s Sahm for Outstanding Wine Program.
In the design category, Eric Bost’s Auburn — which permanently closed last week — was named a finalist.
The finalists were revealed via a “virtual ceremony” on Twitter; an in-person unveiling had originally been planned for March 25 in Philadelphia but was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter posted to the James Beard Foundation’s website, chief strategy officer Mitchell Davis wrote that the organization, in determining whether the annual awards would proceed given the “unprecedented challenges facing the restaurant industry,” surveyed chefs, restaurateurs and industry professionals across the country.
“Those we consulted felt the Awards could also offer a glimmer of hope to an industry looking for light in a very dark time,” Davis wrote.
The James Beard Foundation’s 30th anniversary ceremony and celebration, originally slated for May 4, has been rescheduled for Sept. 25 in Chicago.
For a full list of finalists, visit www.jamesbeard.org.