It was quite the night for two Maine bakers at this year's James Beard Awards.

Atsuko Fujimoto of Norimoto Bakery and Zu Bakery have come away victorious. Clearly, the Portland bakery scene is in very good hands.

Based in New York, the James Beard Awards recognize the greatest in culinary achievement. These are world-class awards. Besides a Michelin Star, the James Beard Awards are the cream of the crop. To even be nominated is a tremendous accomplishment.

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Getty Images

America's best baker went to the legendary Fujimoto of Portland's Norimoto Bakery. This was the third year in a row that Fujimoto had been nominated in this category, so it's wonderful to finally see her win.

Located in Deering, Norimoto Bakery has been one of the premier Portland bakeries since opening in 2021. The little shop prides itself on incredible creativity and flavor creation. They are some of the most innovative treats around.

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Getty Images

Zu Bakery took home the award for "Outstanding Bakery." Originally opened in 2022 by Barak Olins, the West End bakery has blown people away with delicious breads, pastries, and other fine treats. They even have a handy baking schedule on their website, so fans never miss their favorites.

This is the first nomination and win for Olins and Zu Bakery. I would not be shocked to see them in the mix again in the future.

Fujimoto, Zu Bakery, and the rest of the winners and finalists were recognized at the annual James Beard Award Ceramony held at the Lyric Theater in Chicago. The event is always a who's who of up-and-coming culinary creators and legends of the game.

This is the second year in a row that Maine has had two James Beard winners. Last year saw The Quarry in Monson win the "Best Hospitality" award, and the Nezinscot Farm Store in Turner took home the "American Classic" award.

Maine did have two other finalists this year, who came up just short. The crew over at Woodford Food & Beverage was a finalist for the "Outstanding Hospitality" award, and Jake Stevens from Leeward was nominated for Best Chef, Northeast.

You can check out all the winners and nominees here.

Try These 50 Maine Restaurants with the Best Outdoor Seating

Thanks to our great listeners we were able to compile a list of many of Maine's restaurants with the best outdoor dining.

These great spots can be found across the state and waiting for you to give them a try.

How many have you been to? How many would you like to try for the first time?

Gallery Credit: Chris Sedenka

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