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6 Hawai‘i Chefs and Restaurants Announced as Semifinalists for the 2020 James Beard Awards

Bar Leather Apron, Mimi Mendoza, Chris Kajioka, Anthony Rush, Keiji Nakazawa and Sheldon Simeon make the first cut.


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sushi sho

SUSHI SHO’S KEIJI NAKAZAWA: “ALL YOUR THOUGHTS AND SKILLS SHOULD BE FOR YOUR GUESTS.”

 

Three times a semifinalist, never a finalist? Hawai‘i hasn’t won a James Beard Award since the Hawai‘i region merged with California for the purposes of the award. But that could change this year: Hawai‘i is now in the Northwest and Pacific category, which includes Alaska, Oregon and Washington. The competition is still fierce, given the culinary talent in Seattle and Portland, but perhaps this year’s six Hawai‘i semifinalists, each absolutely deserving of the award and many of whom have been semifinalists before, have a better chance at winning than they have in decades. 

 

Congratulations to the Hawai‘i chefs below, who were announced as semifinalists today. After the James Beard judges vote, finalists will be announced on March 25, and the winners declared at the James Beard Awards Gala on May 3 in Chicago.

 


SEE ALSO: Will Hawai‘i’s Thriving Dining Scene Bring Michelin Ratings to Our Restaurants?


senia

CHRIS KAJIOKA AT SENIA.

 

Outstanding Bar Program

Bar Leather Apron

 

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Mimi Mendoza, Senia

 

Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific 

Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush, Senia

Keiji Nakazawa, Sushi Sho

Sheldon Simeon, Lineage (Maui)

 


SEE ALSO: Sheldon Simeon’s Lineage on Maui Wins Gold for Hawai‘i’s Best New Restaurant


bar leather apron

 

Find the full list of semifinalists here.

 

Read more stories by Martha Cheng

 

 

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