The first words out of chef Johnny Monis’s mouth after he accepted his James Beard award on Monday night? “Anne Marler.” The Komi and Little Serow restaurateur thanked his wife and business partner, then offered appreciation to the staff and support teams that helped the couple achieve their successes.
Monis earned the honor of Best Chef Mid-Atlantic, a title he was also up for in 2012 and 2011. His competition this year: Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore; Vikram Sunderam, chef at Rasika; and repeat nominee Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve. The occasion also marks a victory for Washington following a complete shutout in 2012.
Other Washington nominees this year included CityZen, which lost Outstanding Wine Program to Frasca in Boulder, Colorado. Minibar’s design scored a nom in the under-75-seats category, but that award went instead to Isa in Brooklyn. C.F. Folks received the honorary America’s Classics award.
Monis, whose quiet demeanor contrasts with the stereotype of the bombastic, ego-fueled chef, has had a good run over the past months. In February, news came that GQ considered Serow, his tiny Thai spot on 17th Street, Northwest, the most outstanding restaurant of the year. The restaurant had already earned a spot among Bon Appétit’s Hot 10 eateries in 2012. Both Komi and Little Serow ranked among this publication’s top ten in 2013, snagging the second and seventh spots, respectively.
The complete list of restaurant and chef awards appears on the JBF website.