Apr 3, 2024 - Food and Drink

Here are Oregon's six James Beard award finalists

A photo of a James Beard award medal for excellence.

Photo: Victor Spinelli/WireImage

Six Oregon chefs and restaurants were named James Beard award finalists today from the nearly dozen local talents nominated in January.

Why it matters: It's a strong sign for Oregon's food scene, which has been building its reputation on the national culinary stage as more than a food cart destination.

The latest: Sarah Minnick of Lovely's Fifty Fifty is the only Oregon chef up for outstanding chef, one of the highest honors of the night. She's been a semifinalist twice in the past, so whether he nabs it will be one to watch.

  • It's no surprise Gregory Gourdet made the shortlist for the best chef in the Northwest and Pacific category. (Kann won best new restaurant in 2023.)
  • "I'm so honored to be representing our chef community in Chicago this June, alongside so many talented chefs across the country and the Pacific Northwest region," he told Axios.
  • Josh Dorcak of Ashland's MÄS — known for its tiny tasting menu of Cascadian cuisine — is also up for the award.

Zoom in: Akkapong "Earl" Ninsom's Portland restaurant Langbaan, where each dish is inspired by classic Isaan flavors with PNW flair, is a finalist for the outstanding restaurant honor.

  • Ninsom is a staple in the city when it comes to Thai offerings — he opened his first restaurant here in 2008 and this year marks his fifth James Beard nomination. His other outfits include Paadee, Phuket Cafe, Hat Yai and the newly-opened Yaowarat.
  • McMinnville's buzzy, hyperseasonal Hayward, located in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country, will compete with nine other restaurants across the country for the coveted newbie award.
  • JinJu Patisserie, the small counter-service pastry heaven on N. Williams known to have one of the best croissants in the city, is up for outstanding bakery.

The intrigue: JinJu was temporarily closed when the semifinalist list came out a few months ago, while master pâtissier Kyurim Lee ("Chef Q,"as she's affectionately called) was undergoing treatment for cancer. The shop reopened last week.

What's next: Winners will be named at a Chicago ceremony on June 10.

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