The 2018 James Beard semifinalists include 7 Hawaii chefs from some of the islands most popular establishments.
The James Beard Award is one of the most prestigious culinary awards in the U.S. Often called “The Oscars of Food” the awards recognize excellence in cuisine, culinary writing, and culinary education. Only three chefs in Hawaii have ever won the esteemed award, including Roy Yamaguchi, Alan Wong, and George Mavrothalassitis. And for 2018, seven Hawaii chefs and restaurants have once again made it to the semifinal round.
Hawaii’s 2018 Semifinalists
Hawaii’s 2018 James Beard Award semifinalists include chefs and restaurants from six different categories. These semifinalists include:
- Chris Kajioka of Restaurant Senia – Best Chef: West (CA, NV, HI)
- Ed Kenny of Town, Mud Hen Water, Mahina & Suns – Best Chef: West (CA, NV, HI)
- George Kanemitsu of Kanemitsu Baker (Molokai) – Outstanding Baker
- Bar Leather Apron – Outstanding Bar Program
- Maru Sushi – Best New Restaurant
- Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar – Outstanding Wine Program
- Mama’s Fish House – Outstanding Restaurant
That’s a great list of semifinalists from Hawaii if you ask me. And, for what it’s worth, Mrs. Island Miler and I have had the opportunity to dine with three of the semifinalists before. Those were Chris Kajioka at Vintage Cave and at Senia, Ed Kenny at Town and Mud Hen Water, and Bar Leather Apron. All are fantastic places to eat or drink, though I’m disappointed that Kevin Lee of PAI Honolulu isn’t on the list.
2018 James Beard Semifinalists Include 7 Hawaii Chefs, Final Thoughts
I sincerely hope our Hawaii chefs take home an award this year. It’s been 15 years since a Hawaii chef last won a Jame Beard Award. However, the competition will be stiff. Our chefs are competing with the likes of Niki Nakayama of n/naka, Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn, and Sheridan Su of Flock & Fowl, just to name a few, all of whom deserve to win as well.
However, we won’t have to wait long to see how things play out. Finalists will be announced on March 14, and the awards ceremony will be held on May 7 in Chicago.
For the complete list of 2018 James Beard Award semifinalists, visit the James Beard Foundation website.