20 James Beard Award Semifinalists Are From Washington State

Learn more about every single one of the nominees (with the help of our archives) here.
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The 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists were announced on Thursday and many Seattle restaurants and chefs made the list. The finalists will be announced on March 14 in Philadelphia along with nominees for the Media and Restaurant Design Awards. The winners will be announced on May 7 in Chicago.

We can’t wait for the results, but for now, here are the 20 Washington state semifinalists (Update, 3.14.2018: Four of the 20 were named as nominees, they are listed in bold below):

Best New Restaurant

JuneBaby (Seattle)
We knew JuneBaby was a gem from the beginning, which is why we included the restaurant in our 9 Best Restaurants in Seattle list.

Outstanding Baker

Evan Andres, Columbia City Bakery (Seattle)
This is not the first time Andres has been nominated. Did you know he used to be an environmental analyst?

Outstanding Bar Program

Canon (Seattle)
Opening in September 2011, Canon won our Best New Bar in Seattle title in 2012.

Outstanding Chef

Renee Erickson, Bateau (Seattle)
If you type Erickson's name into our search engine, you will get pages upon pages of results. She's been on the restaurant scene for quite a while and we've written about her triumphs extensively, including about her cookbook, "A Boat a Whale & a Walrus."

Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn (Lummi Island, Washington)
We've been keeping an eye on Wetzel since 2010. He won the James Beard "Rising Star Chef of the Year," award in 2012.

Holly Smith, Cafe Juanita (Kirkland, Washington)
We've always thought Smith's Cafe Juanita was worth the splurge.

Outstanding Restaurant

Canlis (Seattle)
Canlis has won numerous awards here at Seattle Magazine, including multiple Readers' Choice Awards.

Outstanding Restaurateur

Ethan and Angela Stowell, Ethan Stowell Restaurants including Staple & Fancy, Tavolàta, How to Cook a Wolf, and others (Seattle)
When they're not running a restaurant empire, the Stowells have a few favorite dinner spots of their own.

Outstanding Wine Program

Wild Ginger (Seattle)
Wild Ginger has been a staple of Seattle since 1989.

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

Dave Green, Skagit Valley Malting (Burlington, Washington)
Skagit Valley Malting first came on our radar as the business who wanted to (and did!) grow local barley to make truly local beer.

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Shota Nakajima, Adana (Seattle)
Nakajima grew up in Seattle but moved to Osaka, Japan, at 18 to train under Yasuhiko Sakamoto. Check out our Q&A with him about how he survives Seattle's restaurant industry.

Maximillian Petty, Eden Hill (Seattle)
He's made our Top 20 Most Talented People in Seattle and his restaurant, Eden Hill, has made our Best Restaurants in 2016 list, so we're not surprised that he is nominated as the Rising Star Chef. 

Jay Blackinton, Hogstone’s Wood Oven and Aelder (Orcas Island, Washington)
Jay Blackinton put Orcas Island dining on the map and was nominated for a James Beard Award in this category in 2015.

Best Chef: Northwest

Eric Donnelly, RockCreek (Seattle)
RockCreek's amazing Alabama Grits made our best Southern Food roundup in our February 2018 issue.

Edouardo Jordan, Salare (Seattle)
We've been following Jordan and Salare since its opening in 2015

Taichi Kitamura, Sushi Kappo Tamura (Seattle)
We sat down with Kitamura a few years ago to talk his favorite seaweed dishes.

Mark Schroder, Opus Co. (Seattle)
Schroder is making magic happen in the tiny Opus Co. which only can seat 18.

Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi (Seattle)
Our Food Editor, Chelsea Lin, had one of the best bites of food in 2017 at Kamonegi.

Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule (Seattle)
When this married duo isn't dominating Seattle's restaurant scene with Joule and Revel, they like to have a datenight at RockCreek.

Anna Vogel, Italia Trattoria (Spokane, Washington)

Good luck to all the nominees and way to represent Seattle and Washington state!

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