Yeah, LA Got Shafted By The James Beard Awards (Again)

Food served at the Audi #DriveProgress dinner series at the James Beard House in New York City on March 6, 2019. (Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Audi)

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The finalists for the 2020 James Beard Awards, the Oscars of the food world, were announced today. And yes, Southern California was overlooked and under-represented...again.

Does it seem like we write some version of this story every year? Yes. Because we do.

In a particularly bitter irony, two newish restaurants named as finalists recently revealed they were closing.

Lincoln Carson, who was nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef, announced last week he's closing Bon Temps, his French brasserie.

Auburn, a fancy Melrose Ave. restaurant with an ambitious tasting menu by chef Eric Bost, was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant Design. Last week, it announced it was closing.

Nightshade and Pasjoli were nominated for Best New Restaurant. Jessica Koslow of Sqirl and Jeremy Fox of Birdie G's were nominted as Best Chefs while Jon Yao of Kato was namedd a finalist for Rising Star Chef. Night + Market Sahm got a nod for its wine program.

The awards show, which would have been the James Beard Foundation's 30th, had been slated for Monday in Philadelphia but was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The restaurant and chef awards will take place on September 25, in Chicago. The media awards, which cover cookbooks, TV, radio, podcasts and journalism, will happen online on May 27.


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Without further ado, here are the Southern California finalists for the 2020 James Beard Awards.

Best New Restaurant

  • Nightshade, Los Angeles
  • Pasjoli, Santa Monica, CA

Outstanding Baker

No Southern California nominees in this category.

Outstanding Bar Program

No Southern California nominees in this category.

Outstanding Chef

No Southern California nominees in this category.

Outstanding Hospitality

No Southern California nominees in this category.

Outstanding Pastry Chef

  • Lincoln Carson, Bon Temps, Los Angeles

Outstanding Restaurant

No Southern California nominees in this category.

Outstanding Restaurateur

No Southern California nominees in this category.

Outstanding Wine Program

  • Night + Market Sahm, Venice, CA

Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Producer

No Southern California nominees in this category.

Rising Star Chef of the Year

  • Jon Yao, Kato, Los Angeles

Best Chef

In this category, the United States has been divided into a dozen regions. As of this year, California is its own region, rather than being combined with other West Coast states.

Best Chef: California

  • Jeremy Fox, Birdie G's, Santa Monica, CA
  • Jessica Koslow, Sqirl, Los Angeles

Outstanding Restaurant Design, 75 Seats and Under

No Southern California nominees in this category.

Outstanding Restaurant Design, 76 Seats and Over:

  • Firms: Klein Agency and ORA; Project: auburn, Los Angeles

Outstanding Design of Alternative Eating & Drinking Places

No Southern California nominees in this category.

Click here to see the full list of nominees in both the restaurant and media awards.