Maine Culinary Crowd Represented Well in James Beard Awards Semifinals
Maine has earned very respectable representation in this year's James Beard Awards. The annual culinary awards are back after a Covid-19 hiatus.
Maine has chefs, restauranteurs, restaurants and bars all represented in this year's semifinals.
The James Beard Award
Based in New York, the James Bear Awards recognize the greatest in culinary achievement. The goal is
to recognize exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.
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.
James Beard Award Maine Nominees
Maine is represented in the James Beard Award semifinals by 10 nominees. Eight semifinalists are based in Portland, while two are based in Biddeford.
Cara Stadler and the team at Bao Bao Dumpling House in Portland are up for the "Outstanding Hospitality" award. Portland bar, The Jewel Box is a semifinalist for "Best Bar Program".
Five chefs are up for "Best Chef, Northeast". Those being Vien Dobui, of CÔNG TỬ BỘT, Courtney Loreg of Woodford Food and Beverage, and Damian Sansonetti of Chaval in Portland. And Ben Jackson from Mangus on Water and Bowman Brown of Elda, also in Biddeford.
Leeward in Portland is in the semifinals in two categories. The restaurant is up for "Best New Restaurant," and chef Kate Fisher Hamm is a semifinal for "Outstanding Pastry Chef."
And last, but certainly not least, Atsuko Fujimoto of Norimoto Bakery in Portland, is up for "Outstanding Baker".
The winners will be announced later this year, and celebrated at at the Lyric Opera in Chicago on June 13.
Below is a deeper look at Maine's semifinalists.