Food

Here Are the DC-Area James Beard Award Semifinalists 2022

Oyster Oyster, Metier, and Peter Chang are among the places that got an early nod.

Anju's executive chef Angel Barreto. Photograph by Scott Suchman

After a two year hiatus, the James Beard awards (aka the culinary Oscars), will return to Chicago’s Lyric Opera House on June 13. It wasn’t just the pandemic that caused the high-profile awards to take a pause. There were a myriad of other factors pertaining to diversity and inclusion—for instance, no Black chefs were included in the last slate of winners. An internal audit led to a rethinking of how the awards are conducted, and who gets to judge them.  

Today’s list of semi-finalists will be whittled down to a much shorter list of finalists, to be announced March 16. In the meantime, here’s who is in the running from our area:

Outstanding Restaurateur: Ashok Bajaj, who owns Rasika, the Bombay Club, Bindaas, Modena, Sababa, La Bise, and Annabelle, is up for this major award. 

Outstanding Chef: Famed Chinese chef Peter Chang (of Q by Peter Chang in Bethesda, Peter Chang in Arlington and Rockville, and NiHao in Baltimore) is a contender, as is Cindy Wolf of Baltimore’s Charleston.

Outstanding Restaurant: The nominees for the night’s biggest award include Metier, Eric Ziebold and Celia Laurent’s seven year-old fine-dining salon in Shaw. 

Emerging Chef: The very talented Angel Barreto of Anju, the Dupont Circle Korean destination, is the only local chef who made the cut in this coveted category. 

Best New Restaurant: The vegetarian Shaw hotspot Oyster Oyster is up against Peter and Lisa Chang’s NiHao in Baltimore, which opened in the summer of 2020. 

Outstanding Pastry Chef: Another nod to Metier (and sister restaurant Kinship): the inclusion of longtime pastry chef Anne Specker in this category.  

Outstanding Wine Program: Middle Eastern restaurant Maydan is lauded for its collection of wines from small producers in places like Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Mexico. 

Outstanding Bar Program: Jose Andres’s barmini is in the running for its modernist, visually stunning drinks. 

Best Chef Mid-Atlantic: Anju’s Angel Barreto, also up for Best Emerging Chef, joins Centrolina and Piccolina chef/owner Amy Brandwein; Ruthie’s All Day proprietor Matt Hill; Albi chef/owner Michael Rafidi; Rooster and Owl chef/owner Yuan Tang; and former Cane chef Peter Prime. Carlos Raba of Baltimore’s Clavel Mezcaleria is also a semi-finalist. 

DC came up dry in the Outstanding Baker and Outstanding Hospitality categories. Here’s the full list of semifinalists.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.