Grand Junction, CO

Two Colorado chefs are semi-finalists in the 2023 James Beard Awards, the Oscars of the food world

Colorado Jill

The prestigious James Beard Awards, sometimes called the Oscars of the food world, recognize and celebrate culinary excellence in the United States. The awards, named after the legendary American chef, cookbook author, and TV personality, have been presented annually by the James Beard Foundation since 1991.

The awards celebrate the United States' diverse and dynamic food culture, recognizing top culinary talent across various categories, such as chefs, bakers, pastry chefs, and outstanding restaurants.

On January 25th, the James Beard Foundation announced the 2023 Restuarant and Chef Award semi-finalists, and two of the twenty semi-finalists for "Outstanding Chef" are from Colorado. They are Josh Niernberg and Dana Rodriquez.

Josh is the executive chef and owner of Bin 707 Foodbar, which offers seasonal Colorado cuisine in Grand Junction, Colorado. He is a semi-finalist for the second consecutive year.

Dana is the chef and owner of Super Mega Bien in Denver, Colorado. This fun, energetic restaurant serves Latin American cuisine.

To be selected as a semi-finalist for the "Outstanding Chef" award, an individual must "set high culinary standards and have served as a positive example for other food professionals while contributing positively to their broader community."

Once selected as a semi-finalist, the chef's work is reviewed and evaluated by a panel of judges who are experts in the culinary field. The judges consider factors such as the chef's culinary vision, the quality of the food and dining experience, and the chef's contributions to the industry and community.

The James Beard Awards are a rigorous and competitive process, and being named as a semi-finalist is a significant accomplishment. The awards are highly regarded as a symbol of excellence and are widely considered to be one of the most prestigious honors a chef or restaurateur can receive.

The winners will be announced at a star-studded awards ceremony on June 5th in Chicago.

Congratulations and best of luck to Chef Niernberg and Chef Rodriguez!

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Writer based in Colorado sharing the state's hidden gems, fascinating history, and special events.

Colorado Springs, CO

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