In mid-February, the James Beard Foundation released its list of 2018 semifinalists in all 12 chef and restaurant categories, and the San Francisco Bay Area was as well-represented as you’d expect. Among the perennial favorites, there were a few notable standouts, both in terms of recognizing new talent (Reem Assil of Reem’s California) and some delightfully unexpected selections (Koi Palace) that revealed they roam widely and listen well.
Today JBF announced the semifinalists, and in the winnowing, the Bay Area came out on top in some categories (four out of five in Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional) and lacks any remaining representation in others (Outstanding Pastry Chef). See the full list here, and the Bay Area’s finalists below. The award ceremony will be held at the Lyric Opera in Chicago on Monday, May 7.
Best New Restaurant
A restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award will be given that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.
The Charter Oak, St. Helena
A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries, or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been a baker or pastry chef for at least five years.
Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie, San Francisco
Outstanding Bar Program
A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
Trick Dog, San Francisco
A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Eligible candidates must have been working as a chef for the past five years.
David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos
Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena
A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service. Eligible restaurants must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years.
Quince, San Francisco
A restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.
Saison, San Francisco
Zuni Café, San Francisco
Outstanding Wine Program A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine.
Benu, San Francisco
Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional
A beer, wine, or spirits professional who has made a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.
Cathy Corison, Corison Winery, St. Helena
Miljenko Grgich, Grgich Hills Estate, Rutherford
Steve Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wines, Napa
Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda
Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)
Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years with the three most recent years spent in the region.
Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn, San Francsico