St. Paul chef is a semifinalist for prestigious James Beard award

The 2023 James Beard Foundation semifinalists have been announced, and there’s a St. Paul chef on the list.

The Twin Cities were largely shut out of the national awards, with the exception of Shawn McKenzie of Minneapolis’ Cafe Cerés, who is a semifinalist for the Outstanding Baker or Pastry Chef award. That category used to be two awards but was combined this year. The foundation also added an Outstanding Bakery award, but no Twin Cities bakeries made the long list.

However, three of our chefs are semifinalists for Best Chef: Midwest. Karyn Tomlinson of St. Paul’s Myriel (her second time on the list), Yia Vang of Union Hmong Kitchen (his second), Ann Ahmed of Khâluna in Minneapolis (her first), and Christina Nguyen of Hai Hai and Hola Arepa (her fourth time on the long list).

Nominees, also referred to as the short list, will be announced March 29, and winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on June 5 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The James Beard Foundation Awards, generally thought of as the Oscars of restaurants, have gone through a reckoning since the pandemic. In fact, there were no awards in 2021 as the foundation sought to bring more diversity and inclusivity to its nominations.

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