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Here Are New Orleans’ James Beard Award Finalists For 2019

The finalists were announced this morning

A James Beard Awards medal 
James Beard Foundation

Today the James Beard Foundation announced its awards finalists, and after racking up 14 nominations, New Orleans is represented with nine local chef and restaurant finalists. The winners will named in Chicago on May 6. Follow the awards ceremony live stream or via JBF’s Twitter feed on May 6 starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.

In 2018, New Orleans took home two James Beard Awards: Nina Compton for Best Chef: South, and Cure for Outstanding Bar Program.

Here’s the short list:

Best Chefs: South

Slade Rushing of Brennan’s, and Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus of Coquette were made it to the finalists round for Best Chef: South, which recognizes chefs in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, and Puerto. Essig and Stoltzfus, who were nominated together in both 2017 and 2018, are opening Thalia this year. Rushing has been nominated the past four years in this category. Isaac Toups of Toups’ Meatery is also a finalist, who was also a finalist in 2016.

Outstanding Chef

Donald Link of Herbsaint is once again a finalist for the sixth time. In 2010, Link’s cookbook, Real Cajun, won a James Beard Award and in 2007 he was named Best Chef: South.

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Kelly Fields of Willa Jean is a finalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. She was a nominee in 2017 and 2018.

Outstanding Restaurateur

Once again, JoAnn Clevenger of Upperline made it to the short list. Clevenger was also nominated for this honor in 2018, 2017 and 2015.

Outstanding Service

Brigtsen’s, a semi-finalist for this award 10 times before, is a finalist for the first time.

Outstanding Wine Program

Bacchanal gets the nod in this category in 2019, same as in 2018.

Rising Star of the Year

Coquette’s Ana Castro is a finalist for this award. Castro will be the co-sous chef of Thalia, the upcoming restaurant from Coquette’s Kristin Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, also nominees for Best Chef: South.

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards