upserve james beard award finalist

For more than 30 years, the James Beard Foundation’s mission has been to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.

According to the Foundation, James Beard was named the “Dean of American Cookery” by the New York Times in 1954. As an original foodie and host of the first food program on television in 1946, Beard was first to suspect that classic American culinary traditions might cohere into a national cuisine and was an early champion of local products and markets. He nurtured a generation of American chefs and cookbook authors who have changed the way Americans eat.

On November 5, 1986, the James Beard Foundation officially opened the James Beard House “to provide a center for the culinary arts and to continue to foster the interest James Beard inspired in all aspects of food, its preparation presentation, and of course, enjoyment,” according to a press release issued that day.

Today, the Foundation hosts a variety of events at The Beard House and supports up-and-coming and established chefs from across the country.

What are the James Beard Awards?

Through the annual James Beard Awards, the Foundation recognizes excellence in the restaurant industry, aiming to bring attention to all levels of the restaurant experience. From wine programs to regional acclaim for chefs, the James Beard Awards honor outstanding restaurants, chefs, and food-centric journalism, books, and broadcast media.

In late 2018, the James Beard Foundation announced a change in policy in an effort to make the James Beard Awards more inclusive. This policy will increase gender, race, and ethnic representation in the governance and outcomes of the Awards. Changes in the nomination and judging process have taken steps toward a more transparent system.

The theme for the awards in 2019 is “Good Food for Good”—a nod to these inclusivity efforts. According to a March press release from the Foundation, the theme references the foundation’s mission, which includes “assert[ing] the power of gastronomy to drive behavior, culture, and policy change around food.”

2019 James Beard Finalists: Congrats to the Upserve Customers who were recognized


San Francisco, CA

Best New Restaurant


New York City

Best New Restaurant


San Francisco, CA

Outstanding Chef: Corey Lee

Outstanding Wine Program


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4 months of coddling and patience. no preservatives. dried outside in our courtyard.

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Seattle, WA

Best Chef, Northwest: Brady Williams

Outstanding Service


Portland, OR

Best Chef, Northwest: Justin Woodward


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Keeping it classic, all through Saturday night.

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New Orleans, LA

Best Chef, South: Kristen Essig & Michael Stoltzfus


Portland, OR

Best Chef, Northwest: Katy Millard

Emmer & Rye

Austin, TX

Best Chef, Southwest: Kevin Fink


Charleston, SC

Outstanding Restaurant

Five & Ten

Atlanta, GA

Outstanding Restaurateur: Hugh Acheson


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??Congrats, @hughacheson on being named a @beardfoundation finalist for Outstanding Restaurateur!?? We are proud to be your flagship!

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Grand Cafe

Minneapolis, MN

Best Chef, Midwest: Jamie Malone


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Here for You ?

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La Vara

New York City

Outstanding Restaurateur: Alex Raji & Eder Montero

Lula Cafe

Chicago, IL

Best Chef, Great Lakes: Jason Hammel


Chicago, IL

Rising Star Chef of the Year: Alisha Elenz


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We’re so excited to announce that Chef @alishaelenz made the @beardfoundation Awards short list for Rising Star Chef of the Year ?

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Momofuku Ko

New York City

Best Chef, NYC: Sean Gray


Chicago, IL

Best Chef, Great Lakes: Beverly Kim & Johnny Clark


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Stone pot rice with yellow fin tuna and preserved lemon

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San Francisco, CA

Best Chef, West: Joshua Skenes

Outstanding Service


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Happy New Year from our family to yours.

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The National

Athens, GA

Outstanding Restaurateur: Hugh Acheson


New York City

Outstanding Restaurateur: Alex Raji & Eder Montero

Via Carota

New York City

Best Chef, NYC: Jody Williams & Rita Sodi


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Regram @donny_tsang

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Willa Jean

New Orleans, LA

Outstanding Pastry Chef: Kelly Fields

Click here to see the full list of 2019 semi-finalists.


James Beard Semifinalists 2017

This week, the James Beard Foundation announced their list of Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists for the 27th Annual James Beard Foundation Awards. The Foundation was established back in 1986, to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. Since that time, their annual awards have been a prestigious honor bestowed on only the best in the culinary industry. Selected from a list of over 24,000 online entries, to say receiving a nomination for this award is exciting, is a major understatement.

Best New Restaurant

Bon Appetit: Peter Frank Edwards

Restaurant: Drifter’s Wife

Location: Portland, ME


Restaurant: Katoi

Location: Detroit, MI


Evan Sung

Restaurant: Olmsted

Location: Brooklyn, NY


Anthony Tahlier

Restaurant: Oriole

Location: Chicago, IL


Chicago Magazine

Restaurant: Roister

Location: Chicago, IL



Restaurant: Sate Kampar

Location: Philadelphia, PA


Restaurant: SRV

Location: Boston, MA


Washington Post: Dixie Vereen

Restaurant: Pineapple & Pearls

Location: Washington DC

Restaurant: Bastion

Location: Nashville, TN


Outstanding Bar Program

Daniel Krieger

Bar: Bar Goto

Location: New York City


Bar: Columbia Room

Location: Washington DC


Bar: Cure

Location: New Orleans, LA


Bar: The Esquire Tavern

Location: San Antonio, TX


Clayton Hauck

Bar: Lost Lake

Location: Chicago, IL


Old Port: Nicole Wolf

Bar: Portland Hunt & Alpine Club

Location: Portland, ME


Bar: Standby

Location: Detroit, MI


Bar: Marvel Bar

Location: Minneapolis, MN


Outstanding Restaurant

Restaurant: Five & Ten

Location: Athens, GA


Restaurant: Momofuku Noodle Bar

Location: New York City


Outstanding Service

Marea Restaurant, New York, NY

Restaurant: Marea

Location: New York City


Restaurant: North Pond

Location: Chicago, IL


Outstanding Wine Program

Fine Dining Lovers

Restaurant: Benu

Location: San Francisco, CA


Restaurant: Corkbuzz

Location: New York City


ATL Food Bucketlist

Restaurant: Empire State South

Location: Atlanta, GA


Outstanding Chef

Chef: Andrea Reusing

Restaurant: Lantern

Location: Chapel Hill, NC


Star Tribune

Chef: Alex Roberts

Restaurant: Restaurant Alma

Location: Minneapolis, MN


Outstanding Pastry Chef

Chef: Melissa Chou

Restaurant: Mister Jui’s

Location: San Francisco, CA


Star Chefs: Antoinette Bruno

Chef: Kelly Fields

Restaurant: Willa Jean

Location: New Orleans, LA


Chef: Aya Fukai

Restaurant: Maple and Ash

Location: Chicago, IL


Knack Factory

Chef: Ilma Lopez

Restaurant: Piccolo

Location: Portland, ME


Willamette Week

Chef: Kristen Murray

Restaurant: Maurice

Location: Portland, OR



Chef: Cynthia Wong

Restaurant: Butcher & Bee

Location: Charleston, SC


Outstanding Baker

Star Chef: Will Blunt

Baker: Evrim Dogu

Bakery: Sub Rosa Bakery

Location: Richmond, VA


Rising Star Chef of the Year

Menu Stories

Chef: Sara Hauman

Restaurant: Mister Jui’s

Location: San Francisco, CA


Eater Nick Solares

Chef: Matt Rudofker

Restaurant: Momofuku Ssam Bar

Location: New York City



Chef: Colin Shane

Restaurant: Arroyo Vino

Restaurant: Santa Fe, NM


Credit Camen Troesser Sauce Magazine

Chef: Ashley Shelton

Restaurant: Pastaria

Location: Clayton, MO


James Beard Foundation

Chef: Jenner Tomaska

Restaurant: Next

Location: Chicago, IL


Chef: Zachary Engel

Restaurant: Shaya

Location: New Orleans, LA


Best Chef: Great Lakes

Opportunity Detroit

Chef: Andy Hollyday

Restaurant: Selden Standard

Location: Detroit, MI


Chefs: Beverly Kim & Johnny Clark

Restaurant: Parachute

Location: Chicago, IL


Eater Nick Fochtman

Chef: Edward Kim

Restaurant: Ruxbin

Location: Chicago, IL



Chef: Ryan McCaskey

Restaurant: Acadia

Location: Chicago, IL


Chef: Noah Sandoval

Restaurant: Oriole

Location: Chicago, IL


Urban Matter

Chef: Abraham Conlon

Restaurant: Fat Rice

Location: Chicago, IL


Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Richmond Times Dispatch: Alexa Welch Edlund

Chef: Brittany Anderson

Restaurant: Metzger Bar and Butchery

Location: Richmond, VA


Chef: Cedric Maupillier

Restaurant: Convivial

Location: Washington DC


New York Times: Matt Roth

Chef: Tom Cunanan

Restaurant: Bad Saint

Location: Washington DC


Washington Post

Chef: Tarver King

Restaurant: The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

Location: Lovettsville, VA


Best Chef: Midwest

Chef: Karen Bell

Restaurant: Bavette La Boucherie

Location: Milwaukee, WI


Star Tribune

Chef: Thomas Boemer

Restaurant: Corner Table

Location: Minneapolis, MN


Star Tribune

Chef: Steven Brown

Restaurant: Tilia

Location: Minneapolis, MN


Biz Journals: Sara Stathas

Chef: Justin Carlisle

Restaurant: Ardent

Location: Milwaukee, WI


Star Tribune

Chef: Jim Christiansen

Restaurant: Heyday

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Chef: Luke Zahm

Restaurant: Driftless Cafe

Location: Viroqua, WI


Best Chef: New York City

New York Times: Danny Ghitis

Chef: Sean Gray

Restaurant: Momofuku Ko

Location: Manhattan


Star Chefs

Chefs: Ann Redding and Matt Danzer

Restaurant: Uncle Boons

Location: Manhattan


New York Times: Devin Talkin

Chef: Missy Robbins

Restaurant: Lilia

Location: Brooklyn, NY


Chefs: Alex Raij and Eder Montero

Restaurant: Txikito

Location: Manhattan, NY


Chef: Ignacio Mattos

Restaurant: Bar Estela

Location: Manhattan, NY


Chefs: Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi

Restaurant: Carbone

Location: Manhattan, NY


Best Chef: Northeast

Boston Magazine: Nora Belal

Chef: Marc Sheehan

Restaurant: Loyal Nine

Location: Cambridge, MA


Providence Business News: Michael Salerno

Chef: Benjamin Sukle

Restaurant: Birch

Location: Providence, RI


Best Chef: Northwest

The French Toast: Dina Avila

Chef: Katy Millard

Restaurant: Coquine

Location: Portland, OR


Best Chef: West

SF Gate The Chronicle

Chef: Corey Lee

Restaurant: Benu

Location: San Francisco, CA


Inside Scoop SF

Chef: James Syhabout

Restaurant: Hawker Fare

Location: San Francisco, CA


From these semi finalists, the list is sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges from across the country. This panel, which comprises leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award winners, votes on the specific award categories to determine the final five nominees in each category.  

Congratulations to all our customers on a tremendous honor. Your daily hustle continues to inspire us.

For the complete list of 2017 James Beard Award Semifinalists, click here.

James Beard Nominees 2016

We know February is award season (Will Leo finally win an Oscar?) But in the food industry, we get very excited about the James Beard Foundation nominations.

Every year The James Beard Foundation compiles a list of finalists and semi finalists honoring excellence in the food industry.  The goals of this foundation are dedicated to recognizing and shining light on the importance of the American food industry and its impact on our culture.  They host events that inspire, educate, and create a better understanding of this industry.

Getting nominated for a James Beard Award is one of the highest honors in the culinary world, and here at Upserve we are more than proud to recognize some of our very talented restaurants that were nominated this year.

Outstanding Bar Program

  • Cafe ArtScience, Cambridge, MA: Located in Kendall Square, this restaurant is at the intersection of an auditorium, a bar, and an art gallery. This dining experience combines the innovation of food and technology.
  • Row 34, Boston, MA: Known for their insane oysters and craft brews.  Row 34 combines a terrific staff, fun atmosphere and fresh seafood creating one of the most delicious dining experiences the bay state has to offer.

Outstanding Pastry Chef

  • Willa Jean, Chef Kelly Fields, New Orleans, LA: This New Orleans bakery puts a modern spin on southern food.  Named after Chef Kelly Fields grandmother, this bakery is known for its unique small plates and perfect pastries.

Outstanding Restaurant and Outstanding Wine Program

  • Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC: The hardest thing about dining at Momofuku Noodle Bar is deciding what to order.  This New York hot spot is a winner in 2 categories, for good reason.  It is famous for its fried chicken meals that can be shared with a group of friends.

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • Garrett Harker, Boston, MA:  Mr. Harker has developed a wide stretching empire, running some of Boston’s biggest restaurants, Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Row 34, The Hawthorne, and Branch Line. He is described as someone who “Has made a career by getting better, smarter, (and) elevating people around him. Believe me, that’s a rarity.”

Outstanding Service

  • Restaurant August, New Orleans, LA: This restaurant, located in a 19th century French- Creole building, in the Central Business District of New Orleans, takes food to a new level.  Opened by legendary Chef John Besh, Restaurant August finds that sweet spot with a modern twist on traditional Creole dishes.

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

  • Convivial, Chef Cedric Maupillier, Washington, D.C.: Convivial boasts a menu like no other in D.C. catering to their guests every request.  It has been the buzz on the street as the “must try spot in D.C.” Led by Cedric Maupillier, the goal is to please customers. The restaurant is fitted with soundproof walls and ceilings, larger portions, and guest tailored courses.

Best Chef: New York City

  • Aldea, Chef George Mendes, NYC: All-Star Chef George Mendes is a first generation Portuguese-American hailing from Connecticut.  In 2009 he opened Aldea, named after the Spanish word for village with a focus not only on just creative food, but also on an environment that is aesthetically pleasing. Aldea is known for creating dishes that resemble art, and for the experienced palate, such as Sea Urchin Toast.

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Written by   |  
Holly Everett is a five-year restaurant industry veteran turned small business marketing specialist. After working at Seven Stars Bakery in Providence, Rhode Island throughout college, she entered the world of marketing where she led B2B marketing initiatives at companies focusing on growing small businesses.