Seven restaurants and chefs in D.C. and Virginia have made it to the list of 2019 finalists for the prestigious James Beard Awards, which are considered equivalent to the Oscars for the culinary world, the James Beard Foundation announced on March 27.
In D.C., Pichet Ong of Brothers and Sisters turned out to be one of the finalists for the “Outstanding Pastry Chef” award, while D.C.-based Spanish restaurant Jaleo was selected as a finalist for the “Outstanding Restaurant” award. “The Rising Star Chef of the Year” category has a finalist from D.C., as well: Kwame Onwuachi of Kith and Kin. And Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse owned by Paul Katinas was picked as the finalist for 2019 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics.
Amy Brandwein of the Italian restaurant Centrolina and Tom Cunanan of the Filipino restaurant Bad Saint, both from D.C., are competing for the “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” category.
Chef Hugo Ortega announced the finalists in a ceremony held in Houston at his namesake Mexican restaurant, Hugo’s. The 2019 edition of the event has a theme of “Good Food For Good” which is synonymous with the mission of the James Beard Foundation.
“It is the simple summation of what the organization stands for, from unique and delicious dining experiences at the James Beard House and around the country, to scholarships, mentorships, and a variety of industry programs that educate and empower leaders in the food community,” the foundation said in a press release.
According to the James Beard Foundation, the awards were established in 1990 to recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields. An individual committee, comprising industry professionals, is set up for each award category. The policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their awards program is overseen by each committee, as per the foundation.
The awards will be presented on May 6 at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. A certificate and a medallion engraved with the foundation’s insignia is given to every winner in all award categories.