Today, the James Beard Foundation released its list of semifinalists for the 2024 Restaurant and Chef Awards. Overall, just five Miami-based restaurants, bars, and chefs made the semi-finalist round this year.
The 2024 awards mark the third year since the Foundation’s extensive audit, continuing the revised protocols introduced in 2022 and 2023, including new methods for identifying talent, nominee personal statements, and different award categories. The voting process has also undergone a transformation, aiming to be more inclusive. Prior winners (i.e., typically a group that skews male and white) are no longer automatically included in the voting body, and the voting body has expanded beyond traditional food media. This restructuring follows the controversy surrounding the canceled 2020 ceremony, initially attributed to the pandemic but also linked to the absence of Black winners and allegations of bullying and sexism among nominees, leading some chefs to withdraw their participation and others disqualified.
South Florida rarely gets much love from the James Beard Award committee, with only a handful of chefs and restauranteurs making it to the finalist rounds and the award show in Chicago any given year. Below is a list of semifinalists this year in Miami and throughout Florida. Finalists will be announced on April 3, and the winner's gala will be June 10, in Chicago. Check out the full list of semifinalists below.
2024 James Beard Awards: Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists
Best New Restaurant
Kaya, Orlando, FL
Zak the Baker, Miami, FL
Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker
Jesus Brazon and Manuel Brazon, Caracas Bakery, Doral and Miami, FL
Outstanding Wine Program
Macchialina, Miami Beach, FL
Webb’s City Cellar, St. Petersburg, FL
Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)
Jennifer Berdin and Mark Berdin, Kadence, Orlando, FL
Valerie Chang, Maty’s, Miami, FL
Clay Conley, Buccan, Palm Beach, FL
Tristen Epps, Ocean Social, Miami, FL
Henry Moso, Kabooki Sushi, Orlando, FL