On Wednesday, March 29, the James Beard Foundation announced the 2023 Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, Leadership Award winners and Humanitarian of the Year and Lifetime Achievement honorees, in advance of the James Beard Awards ceremonies on Monday, June 5 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

“The James Beard Awards celebrate outstanding achievement and exceptional culinary talent, as well as all those doing incredible work on behalf of our communities and wider food system. This year’s nominees, winners, and honorees are inspiring exemplars of that,” says Clare Reichenbach, chief executive officer, James Beard Foundation. “We congratulate all those recognized today and look forward to celebrating them at another exciting Awards Weekend in Chicago this June.”

In both the Outstanding Bakery and Outstanding Pastry Chef/Baker categories, five nominees have been selected. Among them are:

Outstanding Bakery (New in 2023, this category recognizes a baker of breads, pastries, or desserts that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community.)

  • Angelo Brocato Ice Cream & Confectionery, New Orleans, LA
  • La Casita Bakeshop, Richardson, TX
  • Kuluntu Bakery, Dallas, TX
  • Yoli Tortilleria, Kansas City, MO
  • Zak the Baker, Miami, FL

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker (The former Outstanding Pastry Chef and Outstanding Baker categories have been combined into one, Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker. This category recognizes a pastry chef or baker who makes desserts, pastries, or breads. Candidate demonstrates exceptional skills and can be affiliated with any food business and does not need a brick-and-mortar presence. Candidate contributes positively to their broader community.)

  • Veronika Gerasimova, Veronika's Pastry Shop, Billings, MT
  • Elaine Uykimpang Bentz, Café Mochiko, Cincinnati, OH
  • Vince Bugtong, ABACA, San Francisco, CA
  • Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles, CA
  • Shawn McKenzie, Café Cerés, Minneapolis, MN

The James Beard Awards, considered to be among the nation’s most prestigious honors, recognize exceptional talent in the culinary and food media industries, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability and a culture where all can thrive.

“This is a phenomenal list and I’m excited to see such great representation of the extraordinary work being done in our industry across the country—both in service and in excellence of craft. Congratulations to all for this much deserved achievement,” says Tanya Holland, chair of the James Beard Awards Committee and member of the James Beard Foundation Board of Trustees.

“It’s always moving to hear from those in the industry about how the Awards remain meaningful and important for so many,” says Dawn Padmore, vice president of awards, James Beard Foundation. “Congratulations to the nominees, winners and honorees, and a special thanks to our committees and judges for their hard work.”

The full list of categories and nominees can be found at the James Beard Foundation’s website.