Jan 24, 2024 - Food and Drink

Seattle has lots of James Beard semifinalists in 2024

Illustration of a first place ribbon with a gold plate at the center.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Nearly a dozen stars of Seattle's food scene have been named semifinalists for the 2024 James Beard Awards, one of the country's highest culinary honors.

Why it matters: Besides being a big deal for the honorees, the semifinalist list announced Wednesday doubles as a handy guide for some of the city's can't-miss restaurants.

Plus: Seattle hasn't brought home a James Beard Award since 2019, per Seattle Met — so this is our chance to stick it to Portland, which had two winners last year.

Details: For national awards, Aaron Verzosa of Archipelago in Hillman City was named a semifinalist for Outstanding Chef.

Also on the national level, Ben Campbell of Ben's Bread Co. is up for Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker; Janet Becerra of Pancita received a nod for Emerging Chef; and Eight Row in Green Lake is a semifinalist for Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program.

  • On the east side of the state, Bar Bacetto in Waitsburg in Walla Walla County is a semifinalist in the national Best New Restaurant category.

Zoom in: Another four Seattle chefs are up for the regional Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific award.

  • Of note: Derek Bray of Tacoma's The Table, Avery Adams of Matia Kitchen on Orcas Island and Dan Koommoo of Crafted in Yakima also were named semifinalists in this regional category.

Thought bubble: I went to high school in the Portland area, and if you had asked me 15 years ago, I would have told you Portland's food scene beats Seattle's.

  • But Seattle has stepped it up since then, as this year's list of diverse culinary talent shows — so there's no reason Seattle shouldn't get some love this year.

What's next: Finalists will be named April 3, and winners will be announced at a ceremony in Chicago June 10.

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