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LA and OC Restaurateurs Get Lots Of Love From James Beard Foundation

Tomato colored sauce is spooned onto a pile of rigatoni, in a white plate on a white tablecloth
Malai rigatoni sauced with tomato masala, cream, and coriander
(Shahab “Joon” Gozarkhah (LAFoodList)
LAist )
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Los Angeles and Orange County earn high marks in the semi-finalists category for the James Beard Foundation Awards, akin to the Oscars of the food industry.

Who's made the shortlist?: A whole slew of local chefs and restaurants:

  • Outstanding Chef category: Niki Nakayama, who specializes in modern Japanese kaiseki cuisine at her restaurant, n/naka.
  • Emerging Chef category: Rashida Holmes of the Caribbean pop-up Bridgetown Roti.
  • Outstanding Restaurateur category: Greg Dulan, owner of the beloved Inglewood-based soul-food institution Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen.
  • Best New Restaurant category: Indian sports bar Pijja Palace, and Korean-American restaurant Yangban Society were both recognized.

Why it matters: The James Beard Foundation Award is the highest American honor for restaurants, wine and bar programs, and chefs. It's typically viewed second only to Michelin Guide, which nominates restaurants from around the world.

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The backstory: It wasn't too long ago that Los Angeles and its surrounding areas were persona non grata for the JBFA, so it's refreshing to see so many hometown-based operations get their recognition.

What's next: Winners will be announced in June.