Awards & Accolades

Behold Seattle's James Beard Award Semifinalists for 2022

The restaurant industry's crowning jewel returns, and these local chefs and restaurants are up for hardware this year.

By Angela Cabotaje February 23, 2022

Gina Tolentino and Jerry Corso oversee Beacon Hill's Bar del Corso, a semifinalist for Outstanding Hospitality.

Image: Amber Fouts

After a two-year hiatus, the James Beard Awards are back. The lauding of notable restaurants and influential chefs feels a touch different this time, and for good reason.

Back in 2020, the James Beard Foundation abruptly canceled its awards, even after naming the nominees. It later came out that several finalists were embroiled in controversy (one for serving moldy jam and allegedly stealing recipes, another for anonymous accusations of bad behavior). There also wasn't a single Black winner represented in the 23 award categories, according to The New York Times.

The James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee (disclosure: our Allecia Vermillion is vice chair) spent 2021 overhauling the awards procedures to address the lack of equity and transparency during the selection process. This year signals not only the return of what should be a celebration for an industry that's been hammered by the pandemic but also a test of the foundation's adjusted social and moral compass.

Today they announced the award semifinalists—with several Seattle standouts making the list. Notably, Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi of Joule and Revel are up for Outstanding Chef, while restaurants like the Walrus and the Carpenter, Communion (Seattle Met's 2021 Restaurant of the Year), Tomo, and Bar del Corso are in consideration for other national awards. Also in local waters, Matia Kitchen and Bar on Orcas Island received a nod for Best New Restaurant.

The list will be whittled down to finalists on March 16, with the winners announced at an awards gala in Chicago on June 13. You can find all the nominees in the official James Beard Foundation announcement. Otherwise, behold this year's semifinalists from Washington and Oregon (and the full list of regional semifinalists, which includes chefs from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii).

Best New Restaurant

  • República, Portland, OR 
  • Matia Kitchen & Bar, Orcas Island, WA

Outstanding Baker

Outstanding Chef

Outstanding Hospitality

Outstanding Restaurant

  • The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • Akkapong "Earl" Ninsom, Langbaan, Hat Yai, Eem, and others, Portland, OR 

Outstanding Wine Program

  • Hiyu Wine Farm, Hood River, OR 
  • Tomo, Seattle

Emerging Chef

Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific

  • Nathan Bentley, Altura Bistro, Anchorage, AK 
  • Nick Coffey, Ursa Minor, Lopez Island, WA 
  • Erasto Jackson, Lil Red’s Takeout and Catering, Seattle 
  • Jonathan Jones, Epilogue Kitchen & Cocktails, Salem, OR 
  • Liz Kenyon, Rupee Bar, Seattle 
  • Carlo Lamagna, Magna Kusina, Portland, OR 
  • Robynne Maii, Fête, Honolulu 
  • Melissa Miranda, Musang, Seattle 
  • David Nichols, Eight Row, Seattle 
  • Vince Nguyen, Berlu, Portland, OR 
  • Brandon Pettit, Delancey, Seattle 
  • Thomas Pisha-Duffly, Oma's Hideaway, Portland, OR 
  • Mark Pomaski, Moon & Turtle, Hilo, HI 
  • Beau Schooler, In Bocca Al Lupo, Juneau, AK 
  • Sheldon Simeon, Tin Roof, Kahului, HI 
  • Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi, Seattle 
  • Mark and Minaka Urquidi, Ethel's Grill, Honolulu 
  • Jojo Vasquez, Fond, Lahaina, HI 
  • Aaron Verzosa, Archipelago, Seattle 
  • Chad White, Zona Blanca, Spokane, WA  
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