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.
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?
CHRIS KAJIOKA AT SENIA.
Outstanding Bar Program
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
Find the full list of semifinalists here.
Read more stories by Martha Cheng