NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The James Beard Foundation named the finalists Wednesday for its 2023 awards - the equivalent of the Oscars of the restaurant world.
Two New Orleans chefs and the iconic Angelo Brocato Bakery are in the running for the prestigious awards.
Chef Serigne Mbaye at Dakar NOLA (3814 Magazine St., 504-493-9396) made the list in the Emerging Chef category.
At Dakar NOLA, Mbaye serves up a traditional West African tasting menu with a modern twist, using local and seasonal ingredients. Mbaye started with pop-ups before opening his restaurant late in 2022.
Mbaye’s nomination is a milestone for Dakar NOLA, which quickly became a favorite among New Orleans foodies. The restaurant’s name is a nod to Mbaye’s hometown of Dakar, Senegal, and its decor is inspired by the vibrant colors and patterns of West African textiles.
- Damarr Brown, Virtue, Chicago, IL
- Rashida Holmes, Bridgetown Roti, Los Angeles, CA
- Serigne Mbaye, Dakar NOLA, New Orleans, LA
- Charlie Mitchell, Clover Hill, New York, NY
- Amanda Shulman, Her Place Supper Club, Philadelphia, PA
Lengua Madre (1245 Constance St., 504-655-1338), a Mexican restaurant in New Orleans, has quickly gained a reputation for its creative cuisine and innovative use of local ingredients. At the helm is Chef Ana Castro, who has brought her passion for Mexican flavors and her extensive culinary experience to the city’s dining scene.
The restaurant’s name, Lengua Madre, means “mother tongue” in Spanish, and reflects Castro’s belief that food is a powerful way to connect with one’s cultural heritage.
Castro, who hails from Mexico City by way of Texas, has worked in some of the world’s top restaurants, including Noma in Copenhagen and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York. She brings this international experience to Lengua Madre’s tasting menu, where she creates dishes that are both deeply rooted in Mexican culinary traditions and infused with her own unique flair.
Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)
- Ana Castro, Lengua Madre, New Orleans, LA
- Timothy Hontzas, Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, AL
- Alex Perry and Kumi Omori, Vestige, Ocean Springs, MS
- Henry Moso, Kabooki Sushi, Orlando, FL
- Natalia Vallejo, Cocina al Fondo, San Juan, PR
In the Outstanding Bakery category, New Orleans cornerstone Angelo Brocato (214 N. Carrollton Ave., 504-486-0078) was named a finalist, adding another feather in its cap of accolades.
The old-school Sicilian bakery, which has been serving up pastries and gelato for over a century, has become a beloved institution in New Orleans’ culinary scene.
- Angelo Brocato, New Orleans, LA
- La Casita Bakeshop, Richardson, TX
- Kuluntu Bakery, Dallas, TX
- Yoli Tortilleria, Kansas City, MO
- Zak the Baker, Miami, FL
The James Beard Foundation, named after the renowned American chef, recognizes excellence in the food and beverage industry. The foundation’s awards are among the most coveted honors in the culinary world, and being named a finalist is a significant achievement.
The awards ceremony will take place in Chicago on June 5.
View the full list of finalists here.
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