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