Jan 24, 2024 - Food and Drink

13 Colorado chefs and restaurants named semifinalists for 2024 James Beard awards

Yuan Wonton's Penelope Wong is nominated for the second time for best chef in the mountain region. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

Yuan Wonton's Penelope Wong is nominated for the second time for best chef in the mountain region. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

Colorado's best restaurants are competing for the culinary industry's top annual prizes.

Driving the news: 13 prominent chefs and restaurants from Denver to Aspen received nominations as semifinalists for the 2024 James Beard awards, including a number of first-time nods.

  • Kelly Whitaker, the chef behind the Wolf's Tailor and BRUTØ, received a second nod in as many years for outstanding restaurateur.

Why it matters: The nominations serve as a guide to the best of the state's food scene and build on the hype created by the Michelin Guide's arrival in Colorado.

Details: Here are Colorado's semifinalists:

  • Outstanding restaurateur: Erika and Kelly Whitaker, Id Est Hospitality Group (The Wolf's Tailor, BRUTØ, Basta and more)
  • Outstanding chef: Barclay Dodge, Bosq in Aspen
  • Outstanding restaurant: Beckon in Denver
  • Emerging chef: Kenneth Wan, MAKfam in Denver
  • Best new restaurant: Sắp Sửa in Denver
  • Outstanding pastry chef or baker: Carolyn Nugent and Alen Ramos, Poulette Bakeshop in Parker
  • Outstanding wine and beverage program: Sunday Vinyl in Denver

The intrigue: In the category for best chef in the mountain region (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming), the state landed six of the 20 nominations:

  • Theo Adley, Marigold in Lyons
  • Erasmo Casiano and Diego Coconati, Lucina Eatery & Bar in Denver

Yes, but: No Colorado nominees came in the categories for outstanding bakery, hospitality, or bar.

What's next: The finalists are announced April 3 ahead of the awards ceremony June 10 in Chicago.

Go deeper: Colorado's James Beard award semifinalists from 2022 and 2023.

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