On Wednesday, April 3, the James Beard Foundation announced the 2024 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 10 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

“Congratulations to all of our esteemed honorees and nominees on this remarkable achievement,” says Clare Reichenbach, chief executive officer, James Beard Foundation. “Your vision, and continued dedication to excellence—both on and beyond the plate—make you true leaders of American culinary. Thank you for all you are doing to set a better standard for our industry and broader food system.”

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

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

  • The Burque Bakehouse, Albuquerque, NM
  • Gusto Bread, Long Beach, CA
  • JinJu Patisserie, Portland, OR
  • Mel the Bakery, Hudson, NY
  • ZU Bakery, Portland, ME

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker (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. Candidates contribute positively to their broader community.)  

  • Susan Bae, Moon Rabbit, Washington, D.C.
  • Jesus Brazon and Manuel Brazon, Caracas Bakery, Doral and Miami, FL
  • Atsuko Fujimoto, Norimoto Bakery, Portland, ME
  • Crystal Kass, Valentine, Phoenix, AZ
  • Anna Posey, Elske, Chicago, IL

“Despite so many ongoing challenges, this list is a positive reminder of the exceptional talent and dynamism of our industry—it gives me hope for the future of independent restaurants,” says Tanya Holland, chair of the James Beard Awards Committee and member of the James Beard Foundation Board of Trustees. “As Awards Committee Chair, I am honored to congratulate each of you and look forward to celebrating together in Chicago this June.”  

“It’s been wonderful to hear how Awards recognition has already benefited restaurants and businesses around the country. We look forward to continuing to use the Awards platform to highlight their impressive accomplishments and work in our industry.” says Dawn Padmore, vice president of awards, James Beard Foundation. “Thank you to our committee members and judges for their work, and congratulations to all honorees and nominees.”

The James Beard Awards recognizes exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive. Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards are among the nation’s most prestigious honors recognizing leaders in the culinary and food media industries.

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