Here Are the Washington Finalists for the 2016 James Beard Awards

Here Are the Washington Finalists for the 2016 James Beard Awards
Chef Peter Chang and his family will open Chang Chang in Dupont Circle. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

It’s a big day for the national restaurant industry. The James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for the 2016 Chef and Restaurant Awards from San Francisco—arguably the most important American accolades for the industry.

The local names on the short-list include two Washington nominations for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic–Peter Chang of the eponymous Peter Chang in Arlington, and Rose’s Luxury chef/owner Aaron Silverman, as well as Cindy Wolfe of Baltimore’s Charleston. In the pastry category, Bread Furst chef/owner Mark Furstenberg received a nomination for Outstanding Baker for the second year in a row. The winners will be revealed during a ceremony emceed by Carla Hall in Chicago on May 2.

The three local finalists were selected from a much lengthier list. The Foundation included over 20 names in our region when the semifinalists were announced in February—still considered bragging rights among chefs and restaurateurs. Taking home the win is even harder. Last year Washington came up empty-handed in the finals, though Baltimore-based chef Spike Gjerde (Woodberry Kitchen) clinched the title for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.

The Foundation also announced the finalists in the Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards. Congratulations to Todd Kliman, who was nominated in two categories: Food-Related Column for “Otherwise” in Washingtonian, and the MFK Fisher award for his Lucky Peach article, “Pork Life.” Other local nominees include Pati’s Mexican Table host Pati Jinich, who also garnered two nominations (Visual and Technical Excellence and Television Program in Studio), and the Washington Post’s  Tom Sietsema for his coverage of America’s best food cities. The winners will be announced in New York on Tuesday, April 26.

A full list of the finalists in both categories is available on the James Beard Foundation’s website.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.