At a red-carpet ceremony in Chicago last night, a whopping three chefs and restaurants from Philly won James Beard Awards, considered one of the food industry’s highest honors, akin to the Oscars. It’s more than any other city scored — Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and host city Chicago had two winners each, while New York City, where the awards originated, only had one winner in its own statewide category.
Philly nabbed two of the hotly contested national categories: Chad Williams’ tasting-menu darling, Friday Saturday Sunday, was named outstanding restaurant, while Ellen Yin of High Street Hospitality Group (Fork, High Street Philly, etc.) took home outstanding restaurateur. On a regional level, Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon won best chef, Mid-Atlantic for Kalaya (which was Eater’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year, now at a huge new location in Fishtown).
Eater has a full list of the James Beard Award winners, who were whittled down from a group of finalists (aka nominees) that included six names from Philly, including two others in the Mid-Atlantic category that Suntaranon won: Jesse Ito of Japanese hot spot Royal Sushi & Izakaya and Dionicio Jiménez of Mexican newcomer Cantina La Martina. Amanda Shulman of the family-style Her Place Supper Club was up for the emerging chef award, which went instead to Damarr Brown of Chicago’s Virtue.
As in years past, the awards process hasn’t gone entirely smoothly; this year the James Beard Foundation has been dogged by drama surrounding its flawed process of “vetting” nominees accused of bad behavior. By all means, dig deeper into that fiasco even as the city celebrates Philly’s big wins.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards. Eater is partnering with the James Beard Foundation to livestream the awards in 2023. All editorial content, including this post, is produced independently of the James Beard Foundation.