For the first time since 2019, the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony is back in Chicago. Weeks after the James Beard Foundation announced the year’s slate of chef and restaurant finalists, the results are in, and chefs, restaurateurs, and other hospitality world insiders have gathered at the Lyric Opera of Chicago for the splashy, red carpet event, with chef Kwame Onwuachi as host. (There was even a behind-the-scenes cold open, and Onwuachi delivered an opening monologue, complete with a joke about the Oscars slap.)
Following the pandemic-induced hiatus and a 2020 controversy that raised questions about the integrity of the awards, the James Beard Foundation has made a number of changes, conducting an audit and subsequently diversifying the committees involved with the judging process. This year, the awards categories are also different than in pre-pandemic years, with an eye towards greater inclusivity.
The Rising Star Chef of the Year award is now called Emerging Chef, and there are no age limitations on the award. Edgar Rico, chef and co-owner of Austin’s Nixta Taqueria, took home that award. Outstanding Service has been renamed Outstanding Hospitality and now recognizes a restaurant that makes “efforts to provide a sustainable work culture,” along with public-facing service. The regional categories were also shuffled in order to recognize more chefs: California, New York, and Texas now each comprise their own regional Best Chef categories, leaving room for a wider geographical spread of nominees in the West, Northeast, and Southwest categories. Plus, there’s no Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional award this year.
Straight ahead, find out who took home the awards, and be sure to check back as awards are announced throughout the evening.
Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria, Austin, Texas
Don Guerra, Barrio Bread, Tucson, Arizona
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Warda Bouguettaya, Warda Pâtisserie, Detroit
The following wins were previously announced:
- Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks, California
- Corinne’s Place, Camden, New Jersey
- Solly’s Grille, Milwaukee, WIWo Hop, New York
- The Busy Bee Cafe, Atlanta
- Florence’s Restaurant, Oklahoma City
2022 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award
2022 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year
The Media Awards took place on June 11, read the full winners list here.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.