The James Beard Foundation Awards announced the line-up of semifinalists for the restaurant and chef awards categories this morning, January 24. Each year, the James Beard Foundation taps outstanding restaurants and chefs across America as semi-finalists for awards including Outstanding Restaurateur, Emerging Chef, and of course, Best Chef: California. The initial, more extensive, list is then trimmed down to nominees on April 3, 2024, before winners are announced on June 10 in Chicago.
The James Beard Foundation Awards are considered some of the most prestigious awards in food, but they’ve received increased scrutiny since canceling their programming in 2020 and 2021 due to misbehavior and abuse allegations against nominated chefs, and a lack of nominated and winning Black chefs among the categories. This year will be the second year back since going through an internal audit that culminated in a promise of increased diversity, a clearer path in handling chefs with outstanding allegations, and more.
Los Angeles is well represented in this year's categories, with Greg Dulan securing a spot as a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurateur for Dulan’s on Crenshaw, Hotville Chicken, and DulanVILLE, as well as Jeremy Fox of Birdie G’s, and Bridgetown Roti’s Rashida Holmes being tapped as Outstanding Chefs. Nicole Rucker of Fat & Flour is a semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker, Barra Santos is LA’s lone semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, and Danielle Duran-Zecca and Alessandro Zecca of Amiga Amore were listed for Emerging Chef.
Last year Los Angeles took home three of the esteemed awards. The winners were Margarita Manzke for Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker, Anajak Thai’s Justin Pichetrungsi for Best Chef: West, and Ototo for Outstanding Wine or Other Beverages. The previous year, 2022, Los Angeles was shut out completely.
Here is the list of 2024 James Beard Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists from the Greater Los Angeles region.
Disclosures: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards. Eater LA reporter Mona Holmes is related to Rashida Holmes, but was not involved in this story or the awards selection process with the JBFA.
Best Chef: California
Diego Argoti, Poltergeist, Los Angeles, CA
Alex Garcia and Elvia Huerta, Evil Cooks, Los Angeles, CA
Dima Habibeh, Ammatoli, Long Beach, CA
Jihee Kim, Perilla, Los Angeles, CA
Alfonso “Poncho” Martinez, Poncho’s Tlayudas, Los Angeles, CA
Lord Maynard Llera, Kuya Lord, Los Angeles, CA
Michael Procaccini and Stefano Procaccini, La Parolaccia, Long Beach, CA
Alisa Reynolds, My 2 Cents, Los Angeles, CA
Christian Yang, Yang’s Kitchen, Alhambra, CA
Greg Dulan, Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen, Hotville Chicken, and DulanVILLE, Inglewood, CA
Jeremy Fox, Birdie G’s, Santa Monica, CA
Rashida Holmes, Bridgetown Roti, Los Angeles, CA
Danielle Duran-Zecca and Alessandro Zecca, Amiga Amore, Los Angeles, CA
Best New Restaurant
Barra Santos, Los Angeles, CA
Gusto Bread, Long Beach, CA
Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker
Nicole Rucker, Fat + Flour, Los Angeles, CA
Luv2eat Thai Bistro, Los Angeles, CA
Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program
Strong Water Anaheim, Anaheim, CA
Esters Wine Shop & Bar, Santa Monica, CA