*Update: James Beard finalist list does not include Bardea, Heirloom chef Matthew Kern (Delaware Business Times)
Over the course of their career, musicians may desire to be awarded with a Grammy, and actors/actresses may dream of winning an Emmy or an Oscar. In the food world, chefs and restaurateurs aspire to win a James Beard award, which recognizes culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields.
The 2019 semifinalists—who were announced Feb. 27—represent a diverse collection of culinary talent including: best new restaurant, outstanding baker, outstanding bar program, outstanding chef, outstanding pastry chef, outstanding restaurant, outstanding restaurateur, outstanding service, outstanding wine program, outstanding wine, spirits or beer producer, rising star chef of the year and best chefs from ten different regions.
Wilmington’s Bardea Food + Drink is a semifinalist in the best new restaurant category. The Italian restaurant opened in September on Market Street and has been wowing its diners with its creative spin on Italian food.
Matthew Kern of Heirloom is a semifinalist for best chef in the Mid-Atlantic region. This fine dining yet cozy restaurant is located in Lewes, and is the perfect accompaniment to Kern’s creative, seasonal dishes.
Other notable Delaware chefs and restaurateurs who have been recognized in the past include chef Hari Cameron of a(MUSE.), The Blue Hen and Chesapeake & Maine, both in Rehoboth Beach. Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is a frequent semifinalist who won a James Beard award in 2017 in the outstanding wine, spirits or beer professional category.
The James Beard Awards open call for entry begins in mid-October. Committees meet after deadlines close to the review the entries, confirm eligibility, and in some cases, make the first cut. Semifinalists are announced in February and all awards nominees are announced in March. Winners are announced at the Media Awards Dinner and James Beard Awards Gala in April and May, respectively. Each award winner receives a certificate and a silver medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. Winners receive a complimentary professional membership for one year to the James Beard Foundation. In 2019, Leadership Award honorees will receive a $10,000 prize that can be donated to a nonprofit organization of their choice. No other James Beard Awards carry cash prizes.
For more information, visit jamesbeard.org.