Los Angeles’s restaurant scene could be well-positioned for a couple of big wins at this year's James Beard Foundation Awards, though it won’t come without some fierce competition. Today’s announcement of finalists comes after the panel of judges in charge of the 2023 Restaurant and Chef awards released its long list of semi-finalists back in January.
This year’s lineup of finalists is as diverse as ever, with Outstanding Chef nominee names pulled from far and wide, including Lynn, Massachusetts, and Clawson, Michigan — and, of course, right here in Los Angeles. Southern California was shut out of a few key categories, though, with no finalists for Best New Restaurant.
Check out the full list below of finalists for a James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award in 2023. It includes Niki Nakayama of the vaunted fine dining restaurant n/naka, which has helped to immeasurably transform the dining landscape for Los Angeles. This year is also a first-time finalist nomination for Rashida Holmes, whose Bridgetown Roti has gone from home pop-up to Smorgasburg vendor to, soon, a full-fledged restaurant right on Vermont Avenue. It’s definitely not the first time nomination for Margarita Manzke, who has been named a finalist several times before for her outstanding work as a baker and pastry pro in LA.
Niki Nakayama, n/naka, Los Angeles, CA
Rashida Holmes, Bridgetown Roti, Los Angeles, CA
Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker
Margarita Manzke, Republique, Los Angeles, CA
Greg Dulan, Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen, Dulan’s on Crenshaw, and Dulanville, Los Angeles, CA
Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program
Ototo, Los Angeles, CA
Best Chef: California
Gilberto Cetina Jr., Holbox, Los Angeles, CA
Brandon Hayato Go, Hayato, Los Angeles, CA
Justin Pichetrungsi, Anajak Thai, Los Angeles, CA
Carlos Salgado, Taco Maria, Costa Mesa, CA
The full list of finalists from across the country can be found here, and the list of finalists from San Francisco can be found here — though with LA and Orange County basically running the table in this year’s Best Chef: California category, SF would really have to pull an upset to win there. The winners will be announced on June 5, 2023 in a live event at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Disclosures: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards. Eater is partnering with the James Beard Foundation to livestream the awards in 2023. Eater LA reporter Mona Holmes is related to Rashida Holmes, but was not involved in the reporting or writing of this story.