It’s awards season again: Today, the James Beard Foundation announced its long list of semifinalists for the 2022 version of its prestigious restaurant and chef awards after taking a break in 2020 and 2021. The foundation used the past couple of years to conduct internal and external reviews of its policies and procedures, aiming to make the awards process more accessible, equitable, and transparent going forward.
While the procedures have changed a bit, there are still some familiar Boston-area and New England names on the list this year that tend to turn up on the semifinalists list over and over again — Cassie Piuma and Tiffani Faison have been named year after year, for example — but there are a lot of newer folks, too. (Here’s a look at the 2020 semifinalists list, which was released prior to the cancellation of that year’s awards; 2022 repeats from the 2020 list are noted below.)
Of the New England regions represented, Portland, Maine, makes a particularly strong showing this year. The Boston area, including nearby cities such as Somerville and Cambridge, also snags quite a few spots on the list.
This semifinalist announcement is the first step of several before the winners are named. The list is a result of an open call for recommendations in late 2021 (reviewed by a subcommittee), as well as recommendations provided by the foundation’s own awards program voting body. The voting body then reviews and votes on entries to whittle the list down to nominees, announced on March 16, 2022, and finally winners, named at a ceremony in Chicago on June 13, 2022.
Here are the semifinalists from New England, broken down by state, for the 2022 James Beard Foundation restaurant and chef awards.
- Cassie Piuma (Sarma, Somerville) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist (Piuma was also a 2020 semifinalist in this category.)
- Daniel Gursha (Ledger, Salem) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- David Schrier, Jessica Pollard, and David Clegg (Daily Operation, Easthampton) — best chef: Northeast semifinalists
- Deborah Snow and Barbara White (Blue Heron Restaurant & Catering, Sunderland) — outstanding restaurateur semifinalists
- Douglass Williams (Mida, Boston) — outstanding chef semifinalist (Williams was a 2020 semifinalist for best chef: Northeast)
- Jeremy Kean and Philip Kruta (Brassica Kitchen + Cafe, Boston) — best chef: Northeast semifinalists
- John DaSilva (Chickadee, Boston) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- Patricia Estorino (Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar, Waltham and Cambridge) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- Tico Huynh (Yvonne’s, Boston) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- Tiffani Faison (Orfano, Boston) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist (Faison was also a 2020 semifinalist in this category.)
- Rebel Rebel (Somerville) — outstanding wine program semifinalist
- Atsuko Fujimoto (Norimoto Bakery, Portland) — outstanding baker semifinalist
- Ben Jackson (Magnus on Water, Biddeford) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- Bowman Brown (Elda, Biddeford) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- Courtney Loreg (Woodford Food and Beverage, Portland) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- Damian Sansonetti (Chaval, Portland) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- Kate Fisher Hamm (Leeward, Portland) — outstanding pastry chef semifinalist
- Vien Doubi (CÔNG TỬ BỘT, Portland) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist (Doubi was also a 2020 semifinalist in this category.)
- BaoBao Dumpling House (Portland) — outstanding hospitality semifinalist
- The Jewel Box (Portland) — outstanding bar program semifinalist
- Leeward (Portland) — best new restaurant semifinalist
- Brian Lewis (The Cottage, Westport) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- Hector Ludena (Cora Cora, West Hartford) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- Cora Cora (West Hartford) — outstanding restaurant semifinalist
- Christian Kruse (Black Flannel Brewing Company, Essex Junction) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- Nisachon Morgan (Saap, Randolph) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- Café Mamajuana (Burlington) — best new restaurant semifinalist
- Chris Viaud (Greenleaf, Milford) — emerging chef semifinalist
- David Vargas (Vida Cantina, Portsmouth) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist (Vargas was also a 2020 semifinalist in this category.)
- Jeff Fournier (Thompson House Eatery, Jackson) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
- William Rietzel (COAST, Watch Hill) — best chef: Northeast semifinalist
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards.