2024 James Beard Culinary Excellence Awards Announced

Published June 11, 2024

The culinary world celebrated a new group of James Beard Award winners this year, with chefs and restaurants from various US cities receiving top accolades. This year's awards were handed out in Chicago, spotlighting an array of talent from across the nation.

Celebrating Culinary Leaders

Michael Rafidi of Albi in Washington, D.C. stood out as the recipient of the prestigious outstanding chef award. His Arab-influenced cuisine brought Middle Eastern flavors into the limelight, and he acknowledged his roots in his acceptance speech, dedicating the award to Palestinian people globally.

Victorious Venues and Exceptional Entrepreneurs

The delightful 24-seat Thai eatery, Langbaan, in Portland, Oregon, was honored with the outstanding restaurant award, further cementing the city's reputation as a hub for diverse and quality cuisines. A standout among newcomers was Dakar NOLA from New Orleans, which secured the best new restaurant award with its unique Senegalese tasting menu. Entrepreneurial spirit was recognized in Denver’s own Erika and Kelly Whitaker, winners of the outstanding restaurateur accolade for their restaurant group. Meanwhile, Chicago's Lula Cafe was celebrated for outstanding hospitality.

The glitzy awards night not only showcased culinary excellence but also served as an indication of recovery from past controversies. The event, funded by prestigious sponsors, sold out for the first time in years. Notably, this resurgence points toward an optimistic future for the James Beard Foundation as it embraces diversity and overcomes challenges faced back in 2020.

chef, restaurant, hospitality