The semifinalists for 2022 James Beard Awards have dropped and include nine metro Detroit chefs in the Great Lakes category. Winning a James Beard award is considered one of the highest honors in the food industry, so undoubtedly, these semifinalists will be celebrating their nominations this morning.
Best Chef semifinalists from Detroit include Omar Anani of Saffron De Twah, Anthony Lombardo of SheWolf, Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere of Baobab Fare, Michael Ransom of Ima, Sarah Welch of Marrow, and Kate Williams of Karl’s. Other Michigan chefs nominated include James Rigato of Mabel Gray in Hazel Park and Ahmad Sanji of Al Tayeb in Dearborn. Barda was named a semifinalist in the category Best New Restaurant.
Detroit cocktail bar Shelby is nominated for Outstanding Bar Program, while restaurant and bar Madam from Birmingham is nominated for Outstanding Wine Program. Nominated for Outstanding Hospitality are Birmingham’s Phoenicia and Mudgie’s Deli and Wine Shop, the latter of which is a particularly meaningful nomination as its owner Greg Mudge died suddenly last fall.
Detroit’s Warda Bouguettaya of Warda Pâtisserie is nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef, Ji Hye Kim of Miss Kim in Ann Arbor is nominated for Outstanding Chef, and J.D. Simpson and Roger Yopp are both nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur for their Detroit restaurant SavannahBlue.
In total, 16 regional restaurants and chefs were selected as semifinalists.
Here’s the complete list of semifinalists for restaurants and chefs.
Following accusations of bias and lack of diversity, the James Beard Foundation canceled its 2020 awards midseason and its 2021 awards amid an audit. Going forward, the foundation has put some changes in place to avoid a rehashing of the previous year, including policy changes and the creation of an independent ethics committee.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.