Here Are Philly’s James Beard Semifinalists for 2018

The region scored 14 nominations across seven categories this year.

James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Award semifinalists were announced this morning — and as with last year’s semis, big-name chefs and some of the city’s best who have only recently been recognized by the mainstream (hello, Hardena!) are on the list.

Much recognition went to the region’s bread and pastry masters, with Essen Bakery’s Tova du Plessis and Zahav’s Camille Cogswell back with nominations for Outstanding Baker and Rising Star Chef, respectively. Hungry Pigeon’s Pat O’Malley is on there for Outstanding Pastry Chef. New Jersey’s Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa of Curiosity Donuts also received a well-deserved nod.

Ellen Yin once again made the list under Outstanding Restaurateur. (She lost out to Stephen Starr in 2017, so we’d love to see her take the win this time around). And Aimee Olexy’s Kennett Square flagship Talula’s Table scored a nom for Outstanding Restaurant.

In the Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic category, Rich Landau and Nick Elmi are back on the list — Greg Vernick took it all last year — as are El Compadre’s Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller. And they’ve got some very welcome company: Hardena matriarch Ena Widjojo and her two daughters Maylia Widjojo and Diana Widjojo, who took over the Indonesian mainstay from their parents in 2017. Zeppoli’s Joey Baldino rounds out the category for the Philly area.

Take a look at the full list of semifinalists from the region — which shook out to 53 percent women chefs and 47 percent chefs of color nominated. We’ll see who makes it to the next round when the finalists are announced in Philly on March 14th.

Outstanding Baker

Tova du Plessis, Essen Bakery
H. Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa, Curiosity Doughnuts (Stockton)

Outstanding Bar Program

Teresa’s Next Door (Wayne)

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Pat O’Malley, Hungry Pigeon

Outstanding Restaurant

Talula’s Table (Kennet Square)

Outstanding Restaurateur

Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group

Outstanding Service

Chef Vola’s (Atlantic City)

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Camille Cogswell, Zahav
Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

Nicholas Elmi, Laurel
Rich Landau, Vedge
Cristina Martinez and Benjamin Miller, El Compadre
Ena Widjojo, Maylia Widjojo, and Diana Widjojo, Hardena
Joey Baldino, Zeppoli (Collingswood)