What’s up with the James Beard Foundation Awards, man? Tampa Bay’s most recent nominee — and winner — in one of the Restaurant and Chef categories was Bern’s Steak House, which awesomely took home the 2016 win for Outstanding Wine Program.
Yet, for some reason, the region hasn’t bagged a nom since — not even this year, when St. Petersburg executive chef Lauren Macellaro of The Reading Room was the lone local in the running for Best Chef: South, alongside Columbia Restaurant Group’s Richard Gonzmart, who was named as an Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalist once again (seriously, he’s like a serial semifinalist).
The year before, in 2017, Gonzmart (see!) and Bay area chefs Chris Ponte and Ferrell Alvarez scored semifinalist mentions as well, but were ultimately snubbed as nominees.
Basically, what this food editor is saying is she was disappointed when the 2018 finalists were announced Wednesday morning. Our little slice of paradise is overdue for some JBF noms — the worthwhile dining scene here has the edible noms more than covered — and a full-blown win.
What’s it gonna take?
For folks itching to root for someone during the annual Awards Gala on May 7, they can feel good about cheering on Edouardo Jordan, who grew up near Childs Park and Lake Maggoire in St. Pete. Jordan, chef-owner of Seattle’s celebrated Salare and Junebaby, has the potential to walk away victorious as Best Chef: Northwest.
Peep the JBF’s full list of nominees.