Today, the James Beard Foundation announced its slate of finalists for its 2023 restaurant and chef awards. In addition to revealing who has advanced from the semifinalist pool revealed last month, the Foundation has also announced six recipients of the organization's Leadership Award; that Olivia Watkins and Karen Washington, co-founders of the Black Farmer Fund, would received the Humanitarian Award; and that cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey would be honored with this year's Lifetime Achievement Award. They join the America's Classics winners for 2023, which were announced in February.
This is the second awards season to reflect changes made in the wake of an extensive 2021 audit to address the longstanding biases baked into the awards process. New awards categories include an emerging chef award without an age cutoff, as well as regional best chef categories that now include separate awards for California, Texas, and New York in hopes of recognizing a broader geographic range of winners. Voting is also different than it was before the 2020 hiatus, with prior winners (a group that skews white, and male) no longer being automatically included in the voting body that determined who moved from the semifinalist to the finalist list below (and from there, who wins). The voting body has also expanded beyond traditional food media. The stated goal in the 2021 audit was also to have at least 50 percent of committee members and judges be people of color for the 2023 awards.
Media nominees — including everything from cookbooks to podcasts to TV shows — will be revealed on April 26 (Eater will update the list below accordingly). The awards ceremony will take place in Chicago on June 5.
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.
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