The restaurant and chef finalists for the prestigious 2022 James Beard Awards were announced on Wednesday, and North Carolina stands out among them.
The Triangle has two of five nominees for Best Chef in the Southeast and one nominee for Outstanding Bar Program.
Cheetie Kumar of Garland in Raleigh and Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham both advance in the Best Chef in the Southeast category. The category represents restaurants in North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Four of the five nominees are from North Carolina.
Alley Twenty Six, owned by Shannon Healy, Durham, is a finalist in the Best Bar scheme.
Several Asheville restaurants also qualify for the list of finalists, including Cúrate, whose chef Katie Button is nominated for Best Chef in the Southeast. Cúrate is also nominated for the award for best hospitality.
This is Kumar’s second runner-up snap. She was a finalist in 2020 and a semi-finalist three years prior.
This is the first time Moore has been a finalist. He was a semi-finalist in 2020.
Here’s a look at the categories with North Carolina represented. Each category started with 20 semi-finalists and was narrowed down to five finalists.
The winners will be named on June 13 at a ceremony at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.
Best Southeast Chef
▪ Cheetie Kumar from Garland, Raleigh
▪ Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint, Durham
▪ Katie Button of Curate, Asheville
▪ Greg Collier of Leah & Louise, Charlotte
▪ Philip Krajeck, Rolf and his daughters, Nashville
Outstanding Barre Program
▪ Alley Twenty Six, Durham
▪ Attaboy, Nashville
▪ barmini by José Andrés, Washington, DC
▪ Julep, Houston
▪ Nobody’s darling, Chicago
▪ Chai Pani in Asheville
▪ Brennan’s, New Orleans
▪ Butcher and Bee, Charleston, South Carolina
▪ Parachute, Chicago
▪ The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle
▪ Cleophus Hethington of Tipper on Eagle in Asheville
▪ Angel Barreto, Anju, Washington
▪ Calvin Eng, Bonnie’s, New York
▪ Serigne Mbaye, Dakar Nola, New Orleans
▪ Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria, Austin
▪ Crystal Wahpepah, Wahpepah’s Kitchen, Oakland, CA.
▪ Cure, Asheville
▪ Prime Rib House, San Francisco
▪ Hugo, Houston
▪ Sylvia’s Restaurant, New York
▪ Ticonderoga Club, Atlanta
Durham’s first cocktail bar nomination
This is the first year that Alley Twenty Six has been nominated for a James Beard, and Healy, the owner, said he was stunned to learn that the Durham establishment had made it to the shortlist.
“I was shocked,” Healy told The News & Observer in a phone interview Wednesday after learning of the nomination.
When Alley Twenty Six was nominated last month as a semi-finalist in the Outstanding Bar Program category, Healy remembers thinking, “We’ll consider this a win. Because we have no chance of being finalists.
“Now I have no idea what’s going on,” Healy said. “That’s lovely.”
Alley Twenty Six is the first bar in North Carolina to be nominated in this national category created in 2012.
Healy said his surprise was due to the fact that he “was an outsider” and that other finalist bars were from larger cities with more exposure, he said, especially after two years of the pandemic affecting bars. .
“For us, it’s very humbling, because there are a lot of friends and colleagues that we represent,” Healy said. “We can carry the North Carolina flag for this class and are proud to do so as representatives of many other outstanding bar programs in the state.
“It’s our tenth year here and it’s really nice to have something to share not only with our current staff…I get messages from people who have worked here over the past year. It’s something anyone who’s been here can be proud of,” Healy said.
The James Beard Awards have not taken place in two years due to the pandemic and amid efforts to diversify the nominees.
Previous winners of The Triangle’s James Beard Award include Ben and Karen Barker of Magnolia Grill in Durham, who won Best Chef: Southeast and Outstanding Pastry Chef.
Andrea Reusing of Lantern in Chapel Hill and Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh also won Best Chef: Southeast.
In 2019, Christensen won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in the Country.
This story was originally published March 16, 2022 3:06 p.m.