Here are the LA finalists for the 2022 James Beard Foundation Restaurant Awards

After Announcement of the semi-finalists In February, the James Beard Foundation announced its finalists for repeating its 2022 restaurant awards and suspended its 2020 and 2021 chef and restaurant awards.

The shortlist, announced Wednesday, includes some of Southern California’s most critically acclaimed restaurants and chefs. The winners of the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards, which will be determined by an anonymous panel of judges, will be announced at a ceremony June 13 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Nearly 20 Southern California chefs and restaurants were named semifinalists last month; now only four are nominated. As often happens, the long list starts with many names from California or LA and then loses them that round as the competition gets tighter. Greg Dulan, Niki Nakayama and Genever, for example, did not make it to the finals this year.

Wes Avila’s cross-genre Mexican restaurant Angry Egret Dinette in Chinatown is a finalist for Best New Restaurant, while longtime contender Margarita Manzke of République in Mid-City is a finalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef; It marks Manzke’s seventh year as a semifinalist or contestant.

Eight LA-area chefs were selected as the top chefs: California Semifinalists; Bryant Ng of Santa Monica’s contemporary Southeast Asian restaurant Cassia and Sarintip “Jazz” Singsanong of Thai Town’s founding Jitlada are the 2022 finalists.

Margarita Manzke is surrounded by customers in the dining room of the République.

République pastry chef and co-owner Margarita Manzke is a finalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

The lack of the Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards was caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic and in part by a call for more transparency, inclusivity and equity within the organization’s awards system. An extensive internal audit led to promises of more diversity, and the 2022 nods broadly reflect that; Additional recommendations and policy changes for the Foundation’s awards and grading systems can be found here here.

“After two years of relentless challenges for our industry…this year’s awards provide a wonderful opportunity to gather as a community, look to the future and celebrate those who are leading the way,” said Foundation Executive Director Clare Reichenbach , at Wednesday’s announcement ceremony in Arizona.

Not all 2022 winners will have to wait until June 13; The Mexican restaurant Casa Vega was open in mid-February named as one of six recipients of the James Beard Foundation’s annual America’s Classics Awards. The Sherman Oaks restaurant is the only recipient in California this year. The James Beard Foundation Media Awards nominees will be announced on April 27th and the winners will be announced on June 11th.

The full list of nominees for the 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards can be found here here. Here are the LA finalists for the 2022 James Beard Foundation Restaurant Awards

Russell Falcon

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