The James Beard Foundation just revealed its list of 2018 semifinalists across 21 categories and several Philadelphia-area restaurants and chefs made the cut, including some first-time nominees. The semifinalists were picked from more than 20,000 online entries. The finalists will be announced at a press conference in Philly, at Stephen Starr’s Parc on Rittenhouse Square, on March 14. Starr won two James Beard Awards last year, for outstanding restaurateur and best new restaurant.
Here’s the list of Philly nominees for 2018:
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
- Nicholas Elmi, Laurel
- Rich Landau, Vedge
- Cristina Martinez and Benjamin Miller, El Compadre
- Ena Widjojo, Maylia Widjojo, and Diana Widjojo, Hardena
- Joey Baldino, Zeppoli (Collingswood, New Jersey)
Rising Star Chef of the Year
A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.
- Camille Cogswell, Zahav
- Jesse Ito, Royal Sushi & Izakaya
A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Candidates must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.
- Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group (Fork, High Street on Market, High Street on Hudson, and others)
A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service. Eligible restaurants must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years.
- Talula’s Table (Kennett Square)
A restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.
A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries, or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been a baker or pastry chef for at least five years.
- Tova du Plessis, Essen Bakery
Outstanding Pastry Chef
A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.
- Pat O’Malley, Hungry Pigeon
Outstanding Bar Program
A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.
- Teresa’s Next Door (Wayne)
Along with the Philly (and suburbs) nominees, Chef Vola’s in Atlantic City is up for the outstanding service award. H. Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa of Curiosity Doughnuts in Stockton, New Jersey, are on the outstanding baker list.
Joey Baldino, vying for best chef honors in the mid-Atlantic region, also owns Palizzi Social Club, Eater Philly’s 2017 restaurant of the year.
In addition to Starr’s wins last year, Philly was represented in the 2017 James Beard Awards by Michael Solomonov of Zahav, who was named outstanding chef, and Greg Vernick, who received the title of best chef for the mid-Atlantic region.
After Philly hosts the finalists announcement, the winners will be revealed at a gala in Chicago on May 7.