2019 James Beard Award winners celebrate ingenuity, vision and diversity


The 2019 James Beard Award winners were announced in Chicago. This year’s list of honorees celebrated ingenuity, vision and diversity in the culinary world.

Have you seen this year’s 2019 James Beard Award winners list? The annual celebration of America’s best, brightest and talented members of the culinary world is often a resource for foodies. These chefs, restaurants and bar programs often fill foodies’ bucket or must eat lists. But, what did this year’s honorees say about the status of the culinary world?

A change was implemented into the James Beard Award nomination process. For this year, the Foundation looked to make the awards more inclusive. The rule changes were intended to “increase gender, race, and ethnic representation.”

While the 2018 celebration showed the most women and people of color being recognized, the Foundation recognized that improvements could and should be made. While talent will always be rewarded, the voices behind that talent sometimes need a louder platform.

Looking at this year’s James Beard Award winners, diversity was obvious. Women, people of color and various culinary backgrounds reigned in all of the categories. From previous nominees finally getting their recognition to newcomers breaking out of the field, this year’s winner should propel the culinary conversation forward.


Personally, it was wonderful to see Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark receive Best Chef Great Lakes. The chef/owners of Parachute are well deserving of this award. Their restaurant was a dream and it deliver on each and every visit.

For fans of Chef’s Table, Mashama Bailey of The Grey won her category, Best Chef Southeast. (Although another Chef’s Table featured chef, Cristina Martinez of South Philly Barbacoa, did not win.) Bailey’s immense talent deserves her recognition. Additionally, she is a wonderful voice for the future culinarians.

Chicago, the awards host city, had a great showing. Besides Kim/Clark of Parachute, Greg Wade of Publican Quality Bread won best baker and Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of Boka Restaurant Group were named Outstanding Restaurateur. The host city is securing its spot in the top of the culinary world.

Overall, this year’s winners came from all different locations, restaurant sizes and backgrounds. From former Top Chef contestants to well-established names, the awards showed that the culinary world has room for every voice, background and point of view.

For a complete list of the 2019 James Beard Award winners, please visit the James Beard Foundation website.

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Have you experienced enjoyed a dish by one of the awarding winning chefs or have eaten at one of these amazing restaurants?