Southern restaurants, chefs among 2022 James Beard Awards winners

Tiana Kennell
Southern Kitchen

Southern chefs and restaurants shined in an evening dedicated to applauding culinary arts excellence.

The 2022 James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards recipients were announced on June 13 at a live ceremony at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. The ceremony was hosted by James Beard Award-winning chef and author, Kwame Onwuachi.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation recognizes “exceptional talents and achievements” of the culinary industry who also have “demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.” 

The event returned after a two-year hiatus, inspiring the theme “Gather for Good.” The evening was flush with presenters and awardees sharing words of gratitude and stories of hardships and triumph in their career and from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restaurant and chef winners included many from the Southern states who continue to offer excellent dishes and service worthy of accolades. 

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The 2022 winners from the South:

Outstanding Chef: Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah, GA

Outstanding Restaurant: Chai Pani, Asheville, NC

Outstanding Hospitality: Cúrate, Asheville, NC

Emerging Chef: Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria, Austin

Best Chef: South. Adam Evans, Automatic Seafood and Oysters, Birmingham, AL

Best Chef: Southeast. Ricky Moore, SALTBOX Seafood Joint, Durham, NC

Best Chef: Texas. Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo, Austin

Outstanding Bar Program: Julep, Houston

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Additional winners:

Best New Restaurant: Owamni, Minneapolis

Outstanding Restaurateur: Chris Bianco, Tratto, Pane Bianco, and Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix

Outstanding Baker: Don Guerra, Barrio Bread, Tucson, AZ

Outstanding Pastry Chef: Warda Bouguettaya, Warda Pâtisserie, Detroit

Outstanding Wine Program: The Four Horsemen, NYC

Best Chef: California: Brandon Jew, Mister Jiu's, San Francisco

Best Chef: Southwest: Fernando Olea, Sazón, Santa Fe

Best Chef: Midwest: Dane Baldwin, The Diplomat, Milwaukee

Best Chef: Mountain: Caroline Glover, Annette, Aurora, CO

Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific: Robynne Maii, Fête, Honolulu

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic: Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa, Philadelphia

Best Chef: New York State: Chintan Pandya, Dhamaka, NYC

Best Chef: Northeast: Nisachon Morgan, Saap, Randolph, VT

Best Chef: Great Lakes. Erick Williams, Virtue Restaurant & Bar, Chicago

Humanitarian of the Year: Grace Young

Leadership Award: Martin Yan.

American Classics winners:

Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks, CA

Corinne’s Place, Camden, NJ

Solly’s Grille, Milwaukee, WI

Wo Hop, New York, NY

The Busy Bee Café, Atlanta, GA

Florence’s Restaurant, Oklahoma City, OK

Tiana Kennell is the food and dining reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please help support this type of journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Times.