On March 16, the back-after-a-two-year-hiatus James Beard Awards announced the 2022 chef and restaurant finalists — and Colorado talent nabbed all five of the nominations in the Best Chef, Mountain category (which also includes Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming). The group includes both past nominees and new names.
Caroline Glover, chef/owner of Annette
at Stanley Marketplace, was named a semi-finalist in the category (formerly called Best Chef, Southwest) in 2018 and 2019, and was a nominee in 2020 — the first year the awards were canceled because of the pandemic. She's now a full-fledged finalist.
Dana Rodriguez, a three-time semi-finalist — in 2015, 2016 and 2018 — as well as a finalist in 2020, nabbed a nomination once again for her first restaurant, Work & Class. Rodriguez also operates Super Mega Bien at the Ramble Hotel in RiNo, opened Cantina Loca
in January, and is the executive chef of Casa Bonita 2.0
, which is expected to open later this year under new owners Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park
Eric Skokan of Black Cat Farm Bistro
in Boulder was nominated in the Best Chef, Southwest category in 2017 and has now made the list of finalists. In 2020, the Boulder community rallied around the Skokan family following the tragic death of their seventeen-year-old son
, who was killed in a car accident just outside their home.
Caroline Glover of Annette has once again been nominated in the Best Chef, Mountain category.
From the Hip Photo
Jose Avila is a first-time nominee for his Sunday-only El Borrego Negro
pop-ups, at which he cooks sheep barbacoa in the style of Hidalgo, a state near Mexico City. In 2021, Avila opened La Diabla
, Colorado's first pozolaria.
Cody Cheetham of Tavernetta
is a first-time nominee as well. Cheetham is originally from Montana and joined the Frasca Hospitality Group in 2016. He become chef de cuisine at Tavernetta in 2019.
Colorado only has one finalist in a national category: the Little Nell in Aspen, for Outstanding Wine Program, an award it's won three times before, in 2000, 2014 and 2018.
Thirteen Colorado chefs and restaurants were announced as semi-finalists
in late February, though one was removed from the list shortly after: Luis Young of the Penrose Room at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. The restaurant remains temporarily closed (it is expected to reopen this summer), which violates the James Beard Foundation eligibility rule that states that “only candidates who are active and whose business(es) are open will be considered.”
This year's winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Chicago on June 13.