The James Beard foundation has announced its list of semifinalists in the culinary industry and Portland, once again, had a fine showing.
Several rising stars in our city's dining scene that were recognized in WW's 2019 Guide to Food + Drink made the cut: Eem, our Supergroup of the Year thanks to the combined talents of Earl Ninsom (Langbaan, Hat Yai), Matt Vicedomini (Matt's BBQ, Matt's BBQ Tacos), and Eric Nelson (Shipwreck) is up for Best New Restaurant. Joining them in that category is the husband-and-wife team behind Gado Gado, Thomas and Mariah Pisha-Duffly, our Newcomer of the Year.
Ninsom continues to be a force to be reckoned with. He is also up for Restaurateur of the Year, a nomination he received last year, though he has yet to win the top honor. Joining him with previous nods are Kim Boyce in the Outstanding Baker category for her confections at Bakeshop, and Gabriel Rucker for Outstanding Chef as the head of Le Pigeon.
New geographical guidelines went into effect for the 2020 awards, including Best Chef: California and Best Chef: Texas. That means those helming kitchens in Oregon are in the Northwest and Pacific Division, encompassing Alaska, Hawaii and Washington as well.
The final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, as well as the nominees for Media and Restaurant Design Awards will be announced Wednesday, March 25 in Philadelphia. Here is a complete list of the local individuals and businesses in the running:
Best New Restaurant
Akkapong Earl Ninsom (Eem, Hat Yai, Langbaan, etc.)
Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon
Kim Boyce, Bakeshop
Outstanding Bar Program
Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific
Peter Cho, Han Oak
Gregory Gourdet, Departure
Katy Millard, Coquine
Sarah Minnick, Lovely's Fifty Fifty
Kristen Murray, Maurice
Ryan Roadhouse, Nodoguro
Naoko Tamura, Shizuku