The James Beard Foundation on Jan. 24 announced the 2024 semifinalists of its prestigious chef and restaurant awards. Despite a number of Northeast culinary talent getting well-deserved recognition, some people feel as though Boston was a bit slighted.
In an interview with Boston Public Radio on Monday, six-time James Beard journalism awards winner and former James Beard restaurant awards committee member Corby Kummer detailed why Boston getting snubbed can be attributed to a rule change.
"The rules changed after the yearlong pause and no awards at all during the pandemic and [the foundation was] trying to increase equity of all kinds. It was also geographic equity," he said.
The committee giving awards for restaurants has long wanted to expand its regional diversity but struggled due to most of the voters being located in large cities, Kummer explained.
"The new rules have a small, small committee that travels around the country and actually goes to each place. I think they're concentrating their travel funds and their attention on smaller cities," he said.
Kummer added that this change enabled the committee to recognize chefs and restaurants from places that may have previously been overlooked, like Portland, Maine, and places across Rhode Island.
Boston-area chefs and restaurants still managed to rake in nominations in these categories:
Best New Restaurant
- Comfort Kitchen in Dorchester
Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program
- haley.henry wine bar in Boston
- Rebel Rebel in Somerville
Best Chef: Northeast
- Tracy Chang from Pagu in Cambridge
- John daSilva from Chickadee in Boston
- Conor Dennehy from Tallula in Cambridge
- Patricia Estorino from Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar in Cambridge
- Cecelia Lizotte from Suya Joint in Boston
- Laurence Louie from Rubato in Quincy
- Rachel Miller from Nightshade Noodle Bar in Lynn