Jun 5, 2023 - Food and Drink

Shawn McKenzie loses bid for Best Pastry Chef at James Beard Awards

The 2023 James Beard Awards, Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for The James Beard Foundation

Twin Cities pastry chef Shawn McKenzie lost out on the James Beard Award for Best Pastry Chef or Baker on Monday, solidifying Minnesota's snub from the prestigious national culinary awards.

What happened: McKenzie, known for Café Cerés and Rustica among others, was the only Minnesotan to progress to the final round for an award this year.

  • She lost to Margarita Manzke of République in Los Angeles.

Why it matters: Recognition by the James Beard Awards reminds the nation that the Twin Cities has some serious restaurant game — but following Owamni's high-profile win for Best New Restaurant in 2022, we were entirely shut out this year.

  • Though four Twin Cities chefs were on the shortlist for Best Chef Midwest, none made it past the semifinals, making it the first year without a Minnesotan in the category in two decades.
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