Two Southeast Michigan chefs and restaurants have been named finalists for 2019 James Beard Awards. Eater Young Gun Lisa Ludwinski of Detroit’s West Village bakery Sister Pie is a finalist for Outstanding Baker and Zingerman’s Roadhouse is in the running for the coveted Outstanding Service category. Here’s the full list of finalists for restaurants, chefs, and food-centric journalism, books, and broadcast media announced today in Houston.
The awards put on by the James Beard Foundation are considered to be the Oscars of the food industry and being nominated is in itself a tremendous honor. A whopping nine chefs and restaurants from Southeast Michigan were named semifinalists across five categories in February. They included Selden Standard pastry chef and Eater Young Gun Lena Sareini for Rising Star Chef of the Year and Marrow for Best New Restaurant. James Rigato (Mabel Gray), Norberto Garita (El Barzon), Anthony Lombardo (SheWolf), Genevieve Vang (Bangkok 96), and Kate Williams (Lady of the House) were also nominated in the Best Chef: Great Lakes category.
As in past years, Chicago chefs dominated the Best Chef: Great Lakes category today, leading some to suggest that maybe the Windy City should get its own category, a la New York. However, there are signs that the region’s chances of taking home a Beard are improving. In 2018, Zingerman’s Delicatessen broke a multi-year streak in which no Michigan chefs or restaurants were named finalists for an award. With two finalists in 2019, the region’s chances of taking home a Beard are better than they have been in a long time.
This is the third time Ludwinski has been nominated in the category for Outstanding Baker. The Michigan native released her first cookbook in 2018.
Winners will be named during the James Beard Awards Gala at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Sunday, May 5.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.
• Detroit Chefs and Restaurants Named Semifinalists for the 2019 James Beard Awards [ED]
• Eater Young Guns Lisa Ludwinski [E]
• Here Are the 2019 James Beard Award Finalists [E]
• All James Beard Awards Coverage [E]