Daniela Soto-Innes, chef de cuisine of Cosme restaurant in New York City, was named “rising star chef of the year” and Shaya, a modern Israeli restaurant in New Orleans that’s part of the Besh Restaurant Group, was named best new restaurant, at the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards Monday at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.
A total of 21 awards were presented, mostly to a rotating roster of popular chefs, restaurants, restaurateurs and food & beverage professionals. But the Best New Restaurant Award is unique, because there’s only one chance to win it, and the Rising Star award, which goes to a chef “who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the in years to come,” according to the award description, is a potentially career-boosting honor. Previous winners have included now-celebrity chefs Marcus Samuelsson, Grant Achatz, David Chang and Christina Tosi and other respected chefs including Gavin Kaysen, Timothy Hollingsworth and Jimmy Bannos Jr.
Sotto-Innes, 27, started her cooking career at age 15 at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott in The Woodlands, Texas. She also worked in Brennan’s of Houston and Underbelly, also in Houston, before becoming an opening chef de cuisine at Cosme.
Cosme was itself nominated for best new restaurant last year but lost to another New York City restaurant, Bâtard.
This year Shaya beat out Death & Taxes in Raleigh, N.C.; Launderette in Austin, Texas; Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco, Staplehouse in Atlanta and Wildair in New York City.
Other national awards were presented as follows:
• Outstanding Chef: Suzanne Goin of Lucques in Los Angeles
• Outstanding Restaurant: Alinea in Chicago
• Outstanding Restaurateur: Ken Friedman, based in New York, of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, Tosca Café and others
• Outstanding Pastry chef: Dahlia Narvaez of Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles
• Outstanding Baker: Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery & Café in Boston
• Outstanding Service: Eleven Madison Park in New York City
• Outstanding Bar Program: Maison Premiere in Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Outstanding Wine Program: Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa, Fla.
• Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Sprits Professional: Ron Cooper of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal in Ranchos de Taos, N.M.
The awards for best chef in a specific region went to the following:
• Great Lakes (Ill., Ind., Mich. and Ohio): Curtis Duffy of Grace in Chicago
• Mid-Atlantic (D.C., Del., Md., N.J., Pa. and Va.): Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury in Washington, D.C.
• Midwest (Iowa, Kan, Minn., Mo., Neb., N.D., S.D., and Wis.): Paul Berglund of The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis
• New York City: Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto
• Northeast (Conn., Maine, Mass., N.H., N.Y. state, R.I., and Vt.): Zak Pelaccio of Fish & Game in Hudson, N.Y.
• Northwest (Alaska, Id., Mont., Ore, Wash. and Wyo.): Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins in Seattle.
• South (Ala., Ark., Fla., La., Miss., and Puerto Rico): Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery in New Orleans
• Southeast (Ga., Ky., N.C., S.C., Tenn., and W. Va.): Tandy Wilson, City House in Nashville
• Southwest (Ariz., Colo., N.M., Okla., Texas and Utah): Justin Yu of Oxheart in Houston
• West: (Calif., Hawaii and Nev.): John Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal in Los Angeles
The James Beard Awards are widely regarded as among the most prestigious in the food and beverage industry. The restaurant and chef awardees are selected by more than 600 judges, comprised of former winners, food & beverage journalists and culinary educators, who first vote on nominees from a pool of semifinalists nominated online and then vote again to select a winner.
The James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Design Awards, selected by a different panel of judges, also were presented Monday to restaurants who had been designed or renovated since January 1, 2013.
The award in the category of 76 seats and over went to Mode Carpentry of the firm Land and Sea Dept. for the Cherry Circle Room in Chicago.
There was a tie in the category of 75 seats and under, between designer Demian Repucci of Demian Repucci Design for Bruno restaurant in New York City, and Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Collaboration with Cooper Robertson and Bentel & Bentel for Untitled, also in New York.