Philadelphia’s restaurant scene emerged triumphant at the James Beard Foundation’s prolific 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards on Monday night as Cristina Martinez of South Philly Barbacoa took home a win in the Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic category, reports the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Ellen Yin of High Street Hospitality Group (Fork, a.kitchen + bar, High Street Philly) was a finalist in the Outstanding Restaurateur category, though the award ultimately went to Phoenix’s Chris Bianco of Tratto, Pane Bianco and Pizzeria Bianco.
The winners were announced during a “Gather for Good”-themed live ceremony at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. It was the first in-person ceremony in two years due to Covid-19 and public controversy regarding diversity in the proceedings in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in 2020.
The James Beard Awards are largely considered the Academy Awards of the hospitality industry.
The coronavirus pandemic kickstarted the People’s Kitchen, a community kitchen that feeds people in need while simultaneously addressing inequality in Philadelphia. NBC10’s Erin Coleman and TODAY’s Sheinelle Jones took a visit.
The other Philadelphia finalists — called “nominees” by the foundation — in the Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic category were Jesse Ito of Royal Izakaya and Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon of Kalaya Thai Kitchen. The remaining two finalists were Angel Barreto of Anju in Washington, D.C., and Amy Brandwein of Centrolina in D.C.
There were 16 semifinalists from Greater Philadelphia originally named in the 2022 proceedings.
Check out PBJ.com for closer look at the Philly restaurant scene in the national spotlight.
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