These Are Philly’s James Beard Award Semifinalists for 2019

The foundation's "long list" of restaurants and chefs up for awards this year just dropped, and Philly's all over it.

james beard awards nominees semifinalists philadelphia

James Beard Foundation

The list of semifinalists for the 2019 James Beard Awards has been announced, and Philly-area chefs and restaurants have made a strong showing once again.

Familiar names — Elmi, Martinez, Baldino, Yin —pop up on this year’s list, but there are some newcomers, too. Suraya’s James Matty earned his first nomination for Best Pastry Chef. And although owner Tom Peters has made the semis in the Beer, Wine, and Spirits Professional category a handful of times, Monk’s Cafe got its first nod under Outstanding Bar Program.

In fact, chefs and restaurants in the area outside the city make up more than a third of the area’s nominees, with several first-timers showing up on this year’s list. New names from outside the city include West Chester’s well-rated Andiario, as well as contemporary Italian concept Bardea Food & Drink, which opened last fall in Wilmington. They’re both up for the Best New Restaurant category.

Bolete, long a Lehigh Valley destination for its bespoke ethos and locally sourced menu, earned its first nomination in the Outstanding Restaurant category (chef-owner Lee Chizmar made the semis in 2015 for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic). Collingswood sushi stalwart Sagami, a semifinalist back in 2015, joins them in the category.

The region racked up 16 semifinalists on this year’s list, up from 15 chefs and restaurants nominated in 2018. Camille Cogswell of Zahav brought home Philly’s lone award last year, becoming only the second pastry chef to be named Rising Star Chef.

We’ll know who made it to the next round on March 27th, when the foundation will announce this year’s finalists. Check out this year’s full list of Philly-area James Beard Award semifinalists below.

Best New Restaurant

Andiario, West Chester
Bardea Food & Drink, Wilmington

Outstanding Baker

Tova du Plessis, Essen Bakery

Outstanding Bar Program

Monk’s Café

Outstanding Chef

Marc Vetri, Vetri Cucina

Outstanding Pastry Chef

James Matty, Suraya

Outstanding Restaurant

Bolete, Bethlehem
Sagami, Collingswood

Outstanding Restaurateur

Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group

Outstanding Service

Chef Vola’s, Atlantic City

Rising Star Chef

Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Joey Baldino, Zeppoli, Collingswood
Nicholas Elmi, Laurel
Rich Landau, Vedge
Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa