Ashok Selvam and Daniel Gerzina | Eater Chicago | March 14, 2018
Chicago’s food and beverage industry netted 10 nominations this morning when the James Beard Foundation announced its finalists for the 2018 awards from Philadelphia. Boka Restaurant Group scored the most of the city’s finalist nominations as Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm’s company — which runs restaurants including Boka, Stephanie Izard’s Girl & the Goat, and Momotaro — were recognized four times, including for Outstanding Restaurateur.
Last year, 10 Chicago-related restaurants, chefs, and bartenders also made it to the finalists’ round. Twenty-eight were Beard semifinalists this year, as revealed in February. The awards ceremony, known as the “Oscars of the food world,” will take place on May 7 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago for the fourth-straight year.
Chicago chefs were nominated 13 times as semifinalists in the Best Chef: Great Lakes category which covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. All five finalists are from Chicago: Andrew Brochu (Roister), Abe Conlon (Fat Rice), Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark (Parachute), David and Anna Posey (Elske), and Lee Wolen (Boka). For Conlon, Kim and Clark this was their second-consecutive year they were named finalists. For Wolen, it was his third-straight finalist nomination. Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde) won the award last year.
Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia) and Carrie Nahabedian — who recently announced the relocation of Naha — didn’t make it to the list of finalists for Best Chef. Chicago was also shut out of all of all of the beverage categories, so Lost Lake, The Boarding House, and Charles Joly did not move on to the finalist round. Meanwhile, HaiSous and Mi Tocaya Antojería didn’t make it as finalists in the Best New Restaurant category.