Highlights and Winners from the 2018 James Beard Awards

The Chicago event showcased talented women and reasons to rise.

19 Female Nominees

19 Female Nominees

This year's James Beard Awards at Chicago's Lyric Opera House took a more serious tone. The theme, "Rise," challenged chefs to share why they rise, with "I rise for" signs available to download. (Check out #jbfa on Instagram to see several exmples.) The theme spotlighted the chef community and the power of food. To wit: This is the first year the gala will donate all of the event's leftover food to the hungry and food-insecure around Chicago.

But it wasn't all serious — the theme led to a few Hamilton references, including a short parody by host Carla Hall, who kept the mood light even with the more serious undertones. One of the cast members of the Chicago company was even a presenter, as were Food Network's Alex Guarnaschelli, Ted Allen and Amanda Freitag.

Female chefs (19 pictured above) swept many of their categories, including Caroline Styne of The Lucques Group (Outstanding Restaurateur), Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune in NYC (Outstanding Chef), Dolester Miles of Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Alabama (Outstanding Pastry Chef), Camille Cogswell of Zahav in Philadelphia (Rising Star Chef) and regional awards for Missy Robbins of Brooklyn's Lilia (Best Chef: NYC), Karen Akunowicz of Boston's Myers + Chang (Best Chef: Northeast), Nina Compton of New Orleans' Compère Lapin (Best Chef: South) and Dominique Crenn of San Francisco's Atelier Crenn (Best Chef: West).

Photo by: James Beard Foundation

James Beard Foundation

José Andrés accepted recognition as Humanitarian of the Year for his relief work in Puerto Rico, Haiti, Houston and around the world. His speech was heartfelt. "I accept on behalf of all humanitarians trying to bring hope to many," he said. "It's not about I the person, it's about we, the people." He was eloquently introduced by Andrew Zimmern who called Andrés his mentor in giving.

Other notable award winners: Highlands Bar & Grill also took home outstanding restaurant after being nominated for 10 consecutive years, and San Francisco's Zuni Café won for best service, dedicating it to owner Judy Rogers (who passed in 2013).

JuneBaby in Seattle won Best New Restaurant, and owner and chef Eduardo Jordan also took home Best Chef: Pacific Northwest for Salare, dedicating his award to his four-year-old son: "We are making history tonight, and Daddy wants you to know that if you can dream it, you can achieve it."

Chicago, which will host the awards until 2021, kept the mood celebratory all weekend with close to 50 events across the city honoring the culinary community. Billy Reid hosted the Southern Mafia lunch at his West Loop boutique, with food cooked by Paul Fehribach of Chicago's Big Jones. The beautiful weekend weather drew revelers outside for events, including the 3rd annual Boka x Shake Shack x Bang Bang Pie BBQ, with a bonanza of burgers, barbecue and pie. After the awards, nominees and attendees headed out to dance and celebrate at parties, including at Iron Chef Stephanie Izard's Girl and The Goat, Rick Bayless' Lena Brava and Big Star.

Full List of Winners:

Best New Restaurant



Outstanding Baker

Belinda Leong and Michel Suas

B. Patisserie

San Francisco

Outstanding Bar Program


New Orleans

Outstanding Chef

Gabrielle Hamilton



Outstanding Pastry Chef

Dolester Miles

Highlands Bar & Grill

Birmingham, AL

Outstanding Restaurant

Highlands Bar & Grill

Birmingham, AL

Outstanding Restaurateur

Caroline Styne

The Lucques Group (Lucques, a.o.c., Tavern, and others)

Los Angeles

Outstanding Service

Zuni Café

San Francisco

Outstanding Wine Program


Charleston, SC

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional

Miljenko Grgich

Grgich Hills Estate

Rutherford, CA

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Camille Cogswell



Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)

Abraham Conlon

Fat Rice


Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

Jeremiah Langhorne

The Dabney

Washington, D.C.

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)

Gavin Kaysen

Spoon and Stable


Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)

Missy Robbins


Brooklyn, NY

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY STATE, RI, VT)

Karen Akunowicz

Myers + Chang


Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)

Edouardo Jordan



Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)

Nina Compton

Compère Lapin

New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)

Rodney Scott

Rodney Scott's BBQ

Charleston, SC

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)

Alex Seidel

Mercantile Dining & Provision


Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)

Dominique Crenn

Atelier Crenn

San Francisco

2018 James Beard Foundation America's Classics

Sun Wah

Chicago, IL

Owners: Kelly Cheng, Laura Cheng and Michael Cheng

Galleria Umberto

Boston, MA

Owners: Paul Deuterio and Ralph Deuterio

Los Hernandez

Union Gap, WA

Owner: Felipe Hernandez

El Guero Canelo

Tucson, AZ

Owner: Daniel Contreras

Dong Phuong Bakery

New Orleans, LA

Owner: Linh Tran Garza

2018 James Beard Who's Who of Food and Beverage

Jody Adams

Chef/Owner, TRADE, Porto, and Saloniki


Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin

Co-Proprietors, Commander's Palace

New Orleans

Allison Hooper

Co-Founder, Vermont Creamery

Websterville, VT

Daniel Johnnes

Wine Director, The Dinex Group

New York City, NY

2018 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year

José Andrés

Multiple James Beard Award–Winning Chef; Owner, ThinkFoodGroup; Founder, World Central Kitchen

2018 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award

Paula Wolfert

James Beard Award–Winning Author

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