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Here Are The LA Finalists For The 2019 James Beard Awards

Chicken liver pate, duck hummus and pita bread at Bavel, a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, April 2019. (Elina Shatkin/LAist)
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Los Angeles has half a dozen chefs and three restaurants still in contention for a 2019 James Beard Award. After the semifinalists were announced a month ago, the judges whittled down the contenders. The finalists for these awards, the Oscars of the food world, were announced this morning at Houston restaurant Hugo's. The honors will be handed out at a gala in Chicago on Monday, May 6.

One fun note: The JBF added a new award, Quick Bite To Eat, that honors food trucks, pop-ups and other non-traditional food ventures.

Let's get to it!

Best Chef
This category is divided into 10 regions, with one winner per region. Los Angeles falls under West, which covers California, Nevada and Hawaii. Los Angeles had four finalists in this category:

  • Michael Cimarusti - Providence, Hollywood
  • Jeremy Fox - Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica
  • Jessica Koslow - Sqirl, Silver Lake
  • Travis Lett - Gjelina, Venice
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Unfortunately, four incredibly talented SoCal chefs who were named as semifinalists didn't make it to the finals: Genet Agonafer (Meals by Genet), Niki Nakayama (n/naka), Carlos Salgado (Taco María) and Kris Yenbamroong (Night + Market).

Chef Jonathan Yao (left) attends FOOD & WINE's 2018 Best New Chefs Event at Vandal on May 21, 2018 in New York City. (Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Margarita Manzke is nominated for her work at République but before the James Beard judges pick a winner, we think they need to try her amazing buko pie at Sari Sari Store.

  • Margarita Manzke - République, Miracle Mile

Rising Star Chef of the Year
This award honors a chef, age 30 or younger. Los Angeles had only one semifinalist in this category and Jonathan Yao made it to the finals.

  • Jonathan Yao - Kato, West L.A.

Outstanding Wine Program
Although Kris Yenbamroong didn't make it to the finals in the Best Chef category, his quirky, fantastic wine list got a well deserved nod.

  • Night + Market - West Hollywood, Silver Lake, Venice

Best New Restaurant
This award honors a restaurant that opened in 2018 and "already demonstrates excellence in cuisine and hospitality, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come."

  • Bavel, downtown L.A.
  • Majordomo, Chinatown

Ugly Delicious dinner party at Majordomo with host David Chang on February 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Netflix)

Outstanding Bar Program

  • Old Lightning, in Marina Del Rey, didn't make it past the semifinals so L.A. has no nominees in this category.

Outstanding Service

  • n/naka was a semifinalist in this category but didn't make it to the finals.

Outstanding Restaurant

  • Park's BBQ was a semifinalist in this category but didn't make it to the finals.
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Outstanding Baker

  • no SoCal noms in this category

Outstanding Chef

  • no SoCal noms in this category

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • no SoCal noms in this category

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer

  • no SoCal noms in this category

You can find a full list of finalists and read more about how the awards are judged on the JBF website.

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