Here Are the DC Semifinalists for the 2017 James Beard Awards

There are many Washington names in the running.

Marcel's "magic box" holds lobster, caviar, and other little luxuries. The restaurant is nominated for a service award. Photo by Scott Suchman

The James Beard Foundation just announced its long-list of semifinalists for the James Beard Awards—some of the most coveted accolades in the restaurant industry. The finalists will be announced on Wednesday, March 15.

Like last year, the semifinalists include a strong number of Washington names. Some we could predict, such as Pineapple and Pearls for Best New Restaurant. Others, like Sweet Home Café in the same category, come as a surprise. A number of the nominations are repeats from years before, including Ashok Bajaj for Outstanding Restaurateur. For others, its their first time in the running. Young talent Kevin Tien of Petworth’s Himitsu received a nom for Rising Star Chef of the Year, while Thip Khao chef Seng Luangrath is up for Best Chef: Mid Atlantic.

A full list of semifinalists is available at the James Beard Foundation.

Best New Restaurant

Pineapple and Pearls, DC

Sweet Home Café at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, DC

Outstanding Baker

Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst, DC

Outstanding Bar Program

Columbia Room, DC

Outstanding Chef

Fabio Trabocchi, Fiola, DC

Eric Ziebold, Kinship, DC

Outstanding Pastry Chef


Outstanding Restaurant

Jaleo, DC

Rasika, DC

Outstanding Restaurateur

Ashok Bajaj, Knightsbridge Restaurant Group, Washington, D.C. (The Bombay Club, Rasika, The Oval Room, and others)

Outstanding Service

Fiola, DC

Marcel’s, DC

Outstanding Wine Program

Komi, DC

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional

Diane Flynt, Foggy Ridge Cider, Dugspur, VA

Jim Law, Linden Vineyards, Linden, VA

Rising Star Chef of the Year

*A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Kevin Tien, Himitsu, DC

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, DC

Tom Cunanan, Bad Saint, DC

Mike Friedman, All-Purpose Pizzeria, DC

Tarver King, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, Lovettsville, VA

Seng Luangrath, Thip Khao, DC

Cedric Maupillier, Convivial, DC

Nobu Yamazaki, Sushi Taro, DC

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.