The culinary world is abuzz as the James Beard Foundation has released its 2024 list of semifinalists for its annual slate of awards, the food world's version of the Oscars. With categories for individual chefs, restaurants, and restaurateurs, the James Beard Awards recognize talent, craftsmanship, and attention to detail in food, but also beverage programs and FOH service.
All eyes are, of course, on the names for this year's Outstanding Chef award. The crowd is diverse and spans the nation covering far-flung cuisines. Sylvan Mishima Brackett of the Japanese restaurant Rintaro in San Francisco is on the list. Brackett spent time as the creative director of the venerable Chez Panisse before opening his antique-filled restaurant. The izakaya is just as much an homage to Brackett's heritage and culture as it is a spot for crafted, but approachable Japanese cuisine. Meanwhile, the flavors of Spain and Portugal are featured on the menu of Milwaukee's Amilinda, where chef Gregory León serves up dishes like squid salad with fennel puree and duck rice with dried apricots.
Just making their names in the business, emerging chefs are also recognized. Chef Zubair Mohajir offers up an eight-course tasting menu of South Indian fare at Chicago's The Coach House. And in Philadelphia, chef Yun Fuentes' Bolo is a bastion of Latin American flavors serving oxtail croquettes and an array of pinchos.
International Cuisine Reigns Supreme
When most people in the U.S. think of fine dining, French cuisine jumps to mind, but the hold of Gallic cuisine over the top kitchens in the nation isn't what it used to be. While the techniques developed by French chefs still reign supreme, understanding and acceptance of the broader scope of international cuisines is reflected in the James Beard Foundation's list of semifinalists across categories.
An example of that shift is on display with the Poilevey brothers of Chicago, Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalists Oliver and Nicolas, who run Le Bouchon. Though their flagship is a time-tested, beloved French bistro founded by their father, the late Jean-Claude Poilevey, the brothers have expanded to include Obelix, which pulls from a range of influences, and Taqueria Chingón, which brings French-influence to bear on traditional Mexican cuisine.
Outstanding Pastry Chef semifinalists also reflect that shift. In Washington, D.C., Moon Rabbit serves modern Vietnamese cuisine and pastry chef Susan Bae works a wide array of ingredients into the desserts, such as the perilla in a mango and milk chocolate mousse or the fish sauce caramel served with a green curry sponge cake.
The finalists for each category will be announced on April 3, and the James Beard Awards are set to be given out in a gala ceremony at Chicago's Lyric Opera on June 10.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.