By Brittany Anas / NewsBreak Denver
(Colorado) Not only is it awards season in Hollywood, but it’s also the culinary world’s time to recognize the best best chefs and restaurants.
The James Beard Foundation, which celebrates those behind America’s food culture, released its list of 2023 restaurant and chef award semifinalists, also known as the “long list.” Award winners will be announced on June 5.
Colorado has a strong presence on this year’s list, with 13 chefs and restaurants receiving early nominations.
Some recognizable names are on the nominee list, including award-winning chef Dana Rodriguez who helms Super Mega Bien where pan-Latin dishes are served on dim sum carts. She’s also rehauling the food and beverage program at the renovated Casa Bonita that’s scheduled to open in May.
This year’s nominees also include some up-and-comers, like an Italian restaurant in Alamosa that serves dishes like pasta’s “holy trinity” with a sampling of lasagna, fettuccine alfredo and chicken parmesan. The Friar’s Fork also has a set lunch menu price with $16.50 meals that come with fountain sodas.
While no Colorado bartenders made the semifinalist cut this year, Sunday Vinyl—a sleek wine bar and restaurant that makes public its playlists—is a contender for the outstanding wine and beverage program category.
One more trend to take note of on this year’s semi-finalist list? The Western Slope is on fire. Grand Junction just made The New York Times’ list of 52 places to go in 2023, and Josh Nierenberg (Bin 707 Foodbar, Taco Party) is an outstanding chef nominee and Pêche in Palisade is Colorado’s sole contestant for the outstanding hospitality category.
Here are all of Colorado’s 2023 James Beard Semi-Finalists.
- Kelly Whitaker of Id Est Hospitality Group (Basta, The Wolf's Tailor, and BRUTØ) in Boulder
- Josh Niernberg of Bin 707 Foodbar in Grand Junction
- Dana Rodriguez of Super Mega Bien in Denver
- Bo Porytko of Misfit SnackBar in Denver
Best New Restaurant:
- The Friar's Fork in Alamosa
Outstanding Pastry Chef of Baker:
- Ismael de Sousa of Reunion Bread Co in Denver
- Pêche in Palisade
Outstanding Wine and Other Beverage Program:
- Sunday Vinyl in Denver
Best Chef, Mountain Division:
For the best chef category, Colorado competes in the mountain division that also includes Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
- Jose Avila of La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal in Denver
- Michael Diaz de Leon of BRUTØ in Denver
- C. Barclay Dodge of Bosq in Aspen
- Cindhura Reddy of Spuntino in Denver
- Penelope Wong of Yuan Wonton in Denver
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