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Here Are the Local James Beard Foundation Semifinalists for 2018

The nominee list will be announced on March 14

A silver James Beard medal is isolated on a black background
James Beard award
James Beard Foundation [official photo]

Awards season is back again. Today, the James Beard Foundation announced the list of semifinalists for the 2018 restaurant and chef awards, spanning 21 categories and taken from over 20,000 online entries. A committee was responsible for narrowing down the online entry list based on eligibility and regional representation.

The next step is that an independent volunteer judging panel will further narrow the list down to nominees; that list will be announced on March 14. Finally, the same judging panel will choose winners, which will be announced at a glitzy event on May 7 in Chicago. (Winners of the James Beard media awards, which honor food journalists, cookbook authors, and more, will be announced at a separate event on April 27 in New York.)

Here are the New England semifinalists for 2018 James Beard Foundation restaurant and chef awards, which include plenty of familiar names from past years, such as Maura Kilpatrick, Ken Oringer, Joanne Chang, and Garrett Harker:



  • Cassie Piuma (Sarma, Somerville) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Garrett Harker (Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Row 34, and others, Boston and beyond) — Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalist
  • Irene Li (Mei Mei, Boston) — Rising Star Chef of the Year semifinalist
  • JC Tetreault and Esther Tetreault (Trillium Brewing Company, Boston) — Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional semifinalists)
  • Joanne Chang (Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston and beyond) — Outstanding Chef semifinalist
  • Juan Pedrosa (Yvonne’s, Boston) — Rising Star Chef of the Year semifinalist
  • Karen Akunowicz (Myers + Chang, Boston) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Ken Oringer (Uni, Little Donkey, Toro, and others, Boston and beyond) — Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalist
  • Maura Kilpatrick (Sofra Bakery and Café, Cambridge) — Outstanding Baker semifinalist
  • Renae Connolly (Benedetto, Cambridge) — Outstanding Pastry Chef semifinalist
  • Seizi Imura (Cafe Sushi, Cambridge) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Tiffani Faison (Tiger Mama, Boston) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Tony Messina (Uni, Boston) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Unmi Abkin (Coco & The Cellar Bar, Easthampton) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist


  • The Baldwin Bar (Woburn) — Outstanding Bar Program semifinalist
  • Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks (Boston) — Outstanding Service semifinalist
  • Grill 23 & Bar (Boston) — Outstanding Wine Program semifinalist
  • Les Sablons (Cambridge) — Best New Restaurant semifinalist
  • O Ya (Boston) — Outstanding Restaurant semifinalist
  • Taberna de Haro (Brookline) — Outstanding Wine Program semifinalist


  • Tyler Anderson (Millwright’s, Simsbury) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Brian Lewis (The Cottage, Westport) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist



  • Alison Pray (Standard Baking Co., Portland) — Outstanding Baker semifinalist
  • Cara Stadler (Tao Yuan, Brunswick) — Rising Star Chef of the Year semifinalist
  • Erin French (The Lost Kitchen, Freedom) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Ilma Lopez (Piccolo, Portland) — Outstanding Pastry Chef semifinalist
  • Keiko Suzuki Steinberger (Suzuki’s Sushi Bar, Rockland) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Krista Kern Desjarlais (The Purple House, North Yarmouth) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Ravin Nakjaroen (Long Grain, Camden) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Sam Hayward (Fore Street, Portland) — Outstanding Chef semifinalist
  • Vien Dobui (Cong Tu Bot, Portland) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist


  • The Back Bay Grill (Portland) — Outstanding Service semifinalist
  • Chase’s Daily (Belfast) — Outstanding Restaurant semifinalist

New Hampshire

  • Matt Louis (Moxy, Portsmouth) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist

Rhode Island

  • Benjamin Sukle (Oberlin, Providence) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Champe Speidel (Persimmon, Providence) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Johanne Killeen (Al Forno, Providence) — Outstanding Chef semifinalist



  • Cara Chigazola-Tobin (Honey Road, Burlington) — Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist
  • Deirdre Heekin (La Garagista, Bethel) — Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional semifinalist


  • Honey Road (Burlington) — Best New Restaurant semifinalist

The James Beard Foundation already announced the five recipients of this year’s America’s Classics awards, including Boston’s own Galleria Umberto, the North End’s longtime Sicilian pizza standby.

James Beard Foundation [Official Site]
Here Are the 2018 James Beard Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists [E]
The 2018 James Beard Awards Semifinalist List Reckons With #MeToo [E]

Uni Boston

370A Commonwealth Avenue, , MA 02215 (617) 536-7200 Visit Website

Mei Mei (Boston)

506 Park Dr., Boston, MA 02215 (857) 250-4959 Visit Website

Les Sablons

2 Bennett St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 268-6800 Visit Website

Tiger Mama

1363 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215 (617) 425-6262 Visit Website

Sofra Bakery & Cafe

1 Belmont Street, , MA 02138 (617) 661-3161 Visit Website

Grill 23

161 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116 617 542 2255

Taberna de Haro

999 Beacon Street, , MA 02446 (617) 277-8272 Visit Website

Eastern Standard

528 Commonwealth Avenue, , MA 02215 (617) 532-9100 Visit Website

Myers + Chang

1145 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118 617 542 5200 Visit Website

Galleria Umberto

289 Hanover Street, , MA 02113 (617) 227-5709 Visit Website

Purple House

378 Walnut Hill Rd., North Yarmouth, Maine 04097

Honey Road

, Burlington, VT Visit Website


1 Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 617-661-5050 Visit Website

Al Forno

577 South Water St., Providence, RI 02903 (401) 273-9760 Visit Website

Trillium Brewing Company

50 Thomson Place, , MA 02210 (857) 449-0083 Visit Website


186 Union Street, , RI 02903 (401) 588-8755 Visit Website

o ya

9 East Street, , MA 02111 (617) 654-9900 Visit Website

Cafe Sushi

1105 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02138 (617) 492-0434 Visit Website


3 Winter Pl., Boston, MA 02108 Visit Website

Moxy American Tapas Restaurant

106 Penhallow St, Portsmouth, NH 03801 (603) 319-8178 Visit Website


249 Pearl Street, , MA 02145 (617) 764-4464 Visit Website

Flour Bakery & Cafe

1595 Washington Street, , MA 02118 (617) 267-4300 Visit Website

Fore Street

288 Fore Street , Portland, ME 04101 (207) 775-2717