While the world’s eyes are on the Oscar nominees, foodies’ eyes are on the James Beard Awards. And this year, Baltimore is putting on another strong showing.
Two Baltimore restaurateurs have been nominated in the Mid-Atlantic Best Chef category. Steve Chu from Ekiben and Chris Amendola from Foraged in Station North.
“I’m still in shock. I can’t believe it. It’s amazing,” said Amendola. “I am humbled to be included on that list. After years of idolizing those chefs, now my name is on that list. It’s crazy.”
He found out about his nomination from Chu, who texted him congratulations in the morning. “He couldn’t believe what he was reading,” said Amendola.
Amendola’s ‘ultra-seasonal’ restaurant uses foraged mushrooms, lamps and other ingredients. He has also worked to protect the ramps from over-harvesting.
At Ekiben, which now has three branches in Baltimore, Chu has developed a passionate following for his international cuisine. He also made headlines in 2021 for driving several hours to prepare a meal for a long-time terminally ill customer.
Chu, who was contacted by phone en route to a Lunar New Year pop-up at the station’s Hampden store, called the award “cool,” although his staff, including co-owner Efrem Abebe, “The team worked really hard. ” said the New York Kin Shop alum.
The James Beard Award is the second since the 2021 audit, aimed at making the program more representative of the food industry as a whole. In a statement, Adrian Miller, chairman of the Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee, called the semi-finalists “a truly diverse group of talented individuals across the culinary industry.”
What will likely surprise some foodies in the area is that one of the names on the shortlist wasn’t Cindy Wolfe. The Charleston chef has been named a semi-finalist so many times that she calls herself “James Her Beard Award Nominee Susan Lucci.” (Lucci was nominated for 19 Daytime Emmy Awards before winning for her role in “All My Children.”)
But Charleston wasn’t completely snubbed. Harbor His East His restaurant was recognized in the Outstanding Hospitality category.
In a statement from Foreman Wolfe, which owns Charleston and other restaurants in the area, spokeswoman Sue Jean Kang marked the restaurant’s 23rd nomination overall.
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In a statement, co-owner Tony Foreman said, “We are especially grateful to be nominated in such an important category.” to get it.”
In a statement, Wolf said:
Last year, Wolf and another local favorite, Peter Chang, were named semi-finalists in the Outstanding Chef category.
Canton’s NiHao was named in the Best New Restaurant category and Carlos Raba of Clavel Mezcaleria was named a semi-finalist in the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category.
To this day, Woodberry Kitchen’s Spike Gjerde is the only Baltimore chef to win a James Beard Award.