Philly Restaurants Named as Semifinalists for James Beard Awards

Photo of food from Saté Kampar ©Reese Amorosi 2015


Philadelphia is a world-renowned culinary destination with annual nominations for James Beard Foundation Awards for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education in the United States. For 2017, a handful of new and lesser-known (for now) in Philly’s restaurant scene join several notable veterans on the semifinalist list.

Big name Philadelphia restaurant vets such as Top Chef  Nicholas Elmi (Laurel), Chopped winner Rich Landau (Vedge), Joey Baldino, (Zeppoli) and Greg Vernick (Vernick Food & Drink) were nominated for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic,” as were newcomers Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller of South Philly Barbacoa. 

Philly restaurant scene elders were also named: Michael Solomonov (Zahav) was nominated as “Outstanding Chef,” and Stephen Starr and Ellen Yin were nominated in the “Outstanding Restaurateur” category for their work overseeing, respectively, Starr Restaurants Group and High Street Hospitality Group.

Jesse Ito, one of the co-owners of the newly-opened Royal Izakaya in Queens Village, earned a “Rising Star Chef of the Year” nomination for his magnificent sushi/sashimi creations. His competition in this category includes Camille Cogswell, Michael Solomonov’s new executive chef at the Israeli-themed Zahav.

Pat O’Malley, co-owner of Queen Village's new all-day-diner Hungry Pigeon, was nominated in the “Outstanding Pastry Chef” category,  while Tova du Plessis of the recently-opened Jewish-themed Essen Bakery on East Passyunk Avenue was nominated “Outstanding Baker.”

Lastly and most impressively, Saté Kampar – East Passyunk Avenue's Malaysian BYOB opened by chef Angelina Branca and husband/partner John Branca in 2015 – made the semifinalist list for "Best New Restaurant in America."

Good luck to all.

Photo from Saté Kampar ©Reese Amorosi 2015

Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2016