DENVER (KDVR) — It’s that time of year again when semifinalists for the most prestigious culinary awards are announced for best chefs and restaurateurs, among other hospitality recognitions.
The James Beard 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists have been released and Colorado has 13 nominees on the various category lists.
- Outstanding restaurateur: Kelly Whitaker, Id Est Hospitality Group (Basta, The Wolf’s Tailor, and BRUTØ), Boulder
- Outstanding chef: Josh Niernberg, Bin 707 Foodbar, Grand Junction
- Outstanding chef: Dana Rodriguez, Super Mega Bien, Denver
- Emerging chef: Bo Porytko, Misfit SnackBar, Denver
- Best new restaurant: The Friar’s Fork, Alamosa
- Outstanding pastry chef or baker: Ismael de Sousa, Reunion Bread Co, Denver
- Outstanding hospitality: Pêche., Palisade
- Outstanding wine and other beverages program: Sunday Vinyl, Denver
The nominees representing the Centennial State in the best chef category for the mountain region, which includes Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana and Idaho, are:
- Jose Avila, La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal, Denver
- Michael Diaz de Leon, BRUTØ, Denver
- C. Barclay Dodge, Bosq, Aspen
- Cindhura Reddy, Spuntino, Denver
- Penelope Wong, Yuan Wonton, Denver
This is not the first nod many of these chefs have received on a national scale.
La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood was named on Bon Appetit’s 50 Best New Restaurants list for 2022.
Rodriguez was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chefs in America 2015, 2016 and 2018 and was a nominee in the category in 2020.
Whitaker has also received a few local awards from various publications.