These 11 Hawai‘i Chefs and Restaurants are the 2023 James Beard Awards Semifinalists

Here are all the Hawai‘i James Beard Awards 2023 semifinalists.


Jbf Award Medallion


Today, the James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for the 2023 James Beard Awards. The 23 categories include a new award for Outstanding Bakery, and two spots that made the list reflect Honolulu’s diversity: Fujiya Hawai‘i, a mochi shop founded in 1953, and Breadshop, a bread and pastry shop—both places merging only-in-Hawai‘i flavors with old traditions.

The list also includes previous semifinalists including Bar Leather Apron and Michelle Karr-Ueoka of MW, while first-time nods include Keaka Lee of Kapa Hale and Lee Anne Wong of Papa‘aina.

Last year, Robynne Maii of Fête took home the award for Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific, Hawai‘i’s first James Beard award in almost 20 years.

Here are all the Hawai‘i semifinalists:

  • Outstanding Chef: Andrew Le, The Pig and the Lady, Honolulu
  • Best New Restaurant: Nami Kaze, Honolulu
  • Outstanding Bakery: Breadshop, Honolulu and Fujiya Hawai‘i, Honolulu
  • Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker: Michelle Karr-Ueoka, MW Restaurant, Honolulu
  • Outstanding Bar: Bar Leather Apron, Honolulu

Semifinalists for Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific (which includes Alaska, Hawai‘i, Oregon and Washington):

  • Brian Hirata, Na‘au, Hawai‘i Island
  • Keaka Lee, Kapa Hale, Honolulu
  • Sheldon Simeon, Tiffany’s, Wailuku
  • Robert Urquidi, Ethel’s Grill, Honolulu
  • Lee Anne Wong, Papa‘aina, Lahaina

Nominees will be announced March 29 and the winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards in Chicago on Monday, June 5.