Jun 11, 2024 - News

A James Beard win for Sozai in Clawson

Hajime Sato poses for the camera on the red carpet.

Hajime Sato of Clawson's Sozai on the James Beard Awards red carpet in Chicago. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios Chicago

Hajime Sato of Clawson sushi restaurant Sozai won a James Beard Award for best chef of the Great Lakes region.

The big picture: The awards, often called the Oscars of food, bring a national spotlight to restaurants from across the country.

What they're saying: "I feel honored and I feel like there's more obligation now," Sato told Axios Chicago at the awards ceremony. "I've been telling people this is just the beginning, right? 'Now what?' is more important than if I win something and I say 'yay,' and that's it. That's not how it works, is it?"

  • Now he has more power to advocate in the Great Lakes region for sustainable seafood practices, he added. Sustainability is a central tenet of Sozai's mission.

Zoom in: The Detroit chefs nominated for a national category, Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere of East African Detroit restaurant Baobab Fare, lost out on Outstanding Restaurateur to chefs in Boulder, Colorado.

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