The James Beard Foundation has released its list of 2019 restaurant and chef award semi-finalists, with finalists to be awarded medals on May 6 in Chicago. The foundation also announced nominees in the book, broadcast media, journalism and restaurant design categories. Colorado has but one candidate left standing among all the nominations.
The public side of the James Beard Awards process for choosing chefs and restaurants involves three stages. A long list of semi-finalists was announced on February 27 in a wide range of categories, from Best New Restaurant to Outstanding Baker. Stage two came today, paring the lists down to just a handful for each award. The Best New Restaurant list, for example, now stands at five, down from thirty nominations on the February roster. And finally, the selection committee (comprising culinary experts from all over the U.S.) will have just over a month to come up with the winners.
Considering the number of restaurants in the country and the competition from major cities in each state, even making the initial list is quite an accomplishment. Colorado had eight this year:
Outstanding Baker: Andy Clark of Moxie Bread Co. in Louisville
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Jeb Breakell of the Wolf’s Tailor
Outstanding Service: Frasca Food and Wine
Outstanding Wine Service: Element 47 at the Little Nell in Aspen
Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Producer: Todd Leopold and Scott Leopold of Leopold Bros.
Best Chef Southwest: Caroline Glover of Annette, and Kelly Whitaker of the Wolf’s Tailor
Best New Restaurant: Q House
But as of today, only Frasca remains as Colorado's hope of bringing home a medal. The James Beard Foundation's criteria for the Outstanding Service category is "a restaurant in operation for five or more years that demonstrates consistency and exceptional thoughtfulness in hospitality and service."
We're proud of every chef, restaurant employee and food producer who helped earn the eight nominations in February, and we wish Frasca the best in bringing home another award in May. The restaurant already has two medals on its mantle: one for Outstanding Wine Service in 2012, and one for Best Chef Southwest for chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson in 2008.
We like to give out awards, too. Here are our 2019 food and drink picks for Best of Denver, which just came out today.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.