A notable line-up of 18 exceptional Los Angeles chefs and restaurants have earned the esteemed distinction of being named semifinalists for the 2024 James Beard Foundation Awards. Hollywood’s own Luv2Eat Thai Bistro has secured its semifinalist nod from the James Beard Foundation, marking a significant milestone. As the anticipation builds, the unveiling of finalists for these coveted awards is slated for April, leading up to the grand awards ceremony scheduled for June 10 in the culinary hub of Chicago.
This year’s array of semifinalists showcases the diversity and excellence that characterize the Los Angeles culinary scene. Among the prominent figures is Greg Dulan of South L.A.’s iconic Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen, Dulan’s on Crenshaw, and Dulanville. His continued recognition, having been a contender in the outstanding restaurateur category in both 2023 and 2022, highlights his enduring impact on the culinary space.
Rashida Holmes, recognized for her Caribbean pop-up Bridgetown Roti, has transitioned from last year’s emerging chef nominee to this year’s semifinalist for outstanding chef. Joining her in this prestigious category is Jeremy Fox of Santa Monica’s Birdie G’s and the Rustic Canyon Family restaurant group. The group also includes Esters Wine Shop & Bar, nominated for outstanding bar for the second consecutive year.
The emergence of new contenders injects a fresh dimension into this year’s awards. Danielle Duran-Zecca and Alessandro Zecca of Highland Park’s Amiga Amore have secured their place in the emerging chefs category, ushering in a new wave of talent. Meanwhile, Cypress Park’s Barra Santos, associated with the restaurant group behind Found Oysters and Queen St., stands as the sole Southern California representative in the running for best new restaurant. Luv2Eat Thai Bistro, a Hollywood mainstay, has earned its first James Beard Foundation commendation, specifically in the outstanding hospitality division.
The spotlight also falls on some familiar names making their debut as semifinalists. Gusto Bread in Long Beach, with its emphasis on heritage grains, secures its first Beard Foundation nod as the only California semifinalist in the outstanding bakery category. Meanwhile, Nicole Rucker of Fat & Flour, known for her stall in Grand Central Market and a new cafe in Culver City, is acknowledged as a semifinalist in the category of outstanding pastry chef or baker.
In the category of best chef, the competition is fierce, featuring standout chefs from various culinary establishments. Diego Argoti of Poltergeist in Echo Park is among the contenders, alongside culinary talents like Alex Garcia and Elvia Huerta of Evil Cooks, Dima Habibeh of Ammatoli in Long Beach, Jihee Kim of Perilla in Victor Heights, and several others. The announcement of the winner of this coveted title, previously held by Justin Pichetrungsi, chef of L.A. Times restaurant of 2022 Anajak Thai, will be eagerly awaited at the awards ceremony.
Los Angeles continues to stand as a beacon of innovation in diverse cuisines. The culinary world now eagerly awaits the unveiling of the 2024 James Beard Foundation Award nominees in April. The final revelation of winners will take place at the awards ceremony on June 10 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, celebrating the exceptional contributions of these culinary trailblazers.