After announcing its semifinalist nominees last month, today the James Beard Foundation released its list for its 2022 finalists and only one Florida-based nominee made the cut: Zak Stern of Zak the Baker in the Outstanding Baker category.
While 12 Miami-based restaurants, bars, and chefs made were nominated for the semifinalist round last month, the popular Wynwood baker is the only one that will represent at the awards ceremony in Chicago in June. No chefs from Miami or Florida were named finalists in the Best Chef: Southeast category this year.
The annual award ceremony — which many call the Oscars of the culinary world — were canceled in 2020 and 2021 due, in part, to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The organization also completed an internal audit last year in an attempt to overhaul its policies and procedures to be more inclusive and transparent in how nominees were decided upon following years of accusations of racism, sexism, and scandals surrounding many of those who’ve been nominated in years past.
And while the semifinalist list was the most diverse in the awards history, its rollout certainly still had its missteps as names had to be removed from that list due to closures, and one name was added because it had been left off “due to clerical error.”
Award winners are announced during a ceremony taking place June 13 at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago. See the entire list of nominees here.