Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde leads a pack of 25 Chicago chefs and restaurants named semifinalists in the 2019 James Beard Foundation Awards on Wednesday.
Grueneberg, winner of the Best Chef: Great Lakes award in 2017, is back on the ballot for Outstanding Chef, a national award. Previous Outstanding Chef winners in Chicago include Rick Bayless, Paul Kahan, Grant Achatz and Charlie Trotter.
In other national awards, North Pond is a semifinalist for the Outstanding Restaurant award, Meg Galus of Boka is up for Outstanding Pastry Chef (she was a finalist in this category in 2016 and 2018) and Alisha Elenz of mfk is a semifinalist for Rising Star Chef.
Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of the Boka Restaurant Group are back on the ballot in the Outstanding Restaurateur category; Boehm and Katz have been finalists for this award for three straight years.
Birrieria Zaragoza and Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse are semifinalists for Outstanding Service; Kyoten and Passerotto were named among the Best New Restaurant candidates; and Lost Lake is Chicago’s sole representative on the Outstanding Bar Program ballot.
Outstanding Baker semifinalists include Greg Wade of Publican Quality Bread (a finalist the last two years) and first-time semifinalist Stephanie Hart of Brown Sugar Bakery. Semifinalists in the Outstanding Wine Program award include Spiaggia and Income Tax.
In the Best Chef: Great Lakes category (which honors chefs in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio), Chicago semifinalists are Thai and Danielle Dang of HaiSous, Diana Davila of Mi Tocaya Antojeria, Paul Fehribach of Big Jones, Jason Hammel of Lula Cafe, Brian Jupiter of Frontier, Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark of Parachute, Ethan Pikas of Cellar Door Provisions, David and Anna Posey of Elske, Iliana Regan of Elizabeth, Noah Sandoval of Oriole, and Lee Wolen of Boka. Kim/Clark and Wolen have been finalists previously.
Finalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards will be announced March 27. The winners will be announced at the James Beard Awards Gala on May 6 in Chicago.