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James Beard Awards 2022: Mashama Bailey and Owamni Win Top Honors
The awards were on hiatus for the past two years amid concerns about the diversity among finalists, accusations against nominees and the pandemic’s effects on the hospitality business.
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The James Beard Award 2022 winners are ...
An Indian street food restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina, an Indigenous restaurant in Minneapolis and an African American chef at a fine dining restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, earned three of the American culinary community's top awards on Monday.
FOOD & DRINK
The James Beard Award 2022 winners are ...
Marnie Hunter and Forrest Brown, CNN • Updated 14th June 2022
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(CNN) — An Indian street food restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina, an Indigenous restaurant in Minneapolis and an African American chef at a fine dining restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, earned three of the American culinary community's top awards on Monday night.
Mashama Bailey, chef at The Grey in Savannah, is 2022's James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Chef.
"Black and brown folks, immigrants, mom-and-pop shops have been bubbling underneath the surface of this industry, working hard for a long time establishing our place in American food. I stand on the backs of many of them and today a little Black girl or a little Black boy can see themselves as a future Outstanding Chef," Bailey said in accepting the award.
Mashama Bailey of The Grey in Savannah, Georgia, earned the Outstanding Chef Award.
Dylan Wilson/The New York Times/Redux
Chai Pani, an Asheville restaurant serving bright, crispy Indian street snacks, earned the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant.
"Restaurants are so much greater than the sum of what's inside the four walls. A restaurant has the power to transform -- transform the people that work there, transform the people that come in, transform the communities we're in, transform society. Restaurants can transform the world," said Meherwan Irani, chef and founder at Chai Pani, which also has a location in Decatur, Georgia.
Owamni, an Indigenous restaurant in Minneapolis from Dana Thompson and chef Sean Sherman, won the award for Best New Restaurant.
Sherman noted the centuries of racism and colonialism that people of color have endured.
"This is showing that we can get through that, that we're still here. You know, our people are here, our ancestors are proud tonight because we're doing something different. We're putting health on the table, we're putting culture on the table and we're putting our stories on the table," Sherman said.
Hard work, dedication and resilience
The James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony was held Monday night at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot welcomed the awards ceremony to Chicago and said it bolstered the city's foodie bona fides. She was one of many speakers who talked about the difficulties caused by Covid-19.
"Your hard work, your dedication and resilience ... in conquering challenges of this great pandemic is a testament to the adage: 'What doesn't break you makes you stronger.'"
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The 2022 awards mark the first bestowed under new policies and procedures and a new code of ethics sparked by allegations of chefs' bad behavior and a lack of diversity.
The awards in many key categories were abruptly called off in 2020 and remained on pause in 2021 amid the industry's pandemic upheaval and the foundation's work on the new framework.
The nonprofit James Beard Foundation was established more than 30 years ago, shortly after "pioneer foodie" James Beard's death, "to celebrate, support and elevate the people behind America's food culture."
Beard was the host of "I Love to Eat," the first food program on network television in 1946 and was called the "Dean of American Cookery" by The New York Times in 1954.
Here's the full list of the 2022 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards nominees. The winners in each category are listed in bold.
• Ashok Bajaj, Knightsbridge Restaurant Group (Rasika, Bindaas, Annabelle, and others), Washington, DC• WINNER: Chris Bianco, Tratto, Pane Bianco, and Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix
• Kevin Gillespie, Red Beard Restaurants (Gunshow and Revival), Atlanta
• Akkapong "Earl" Ninsom, Langbaan, Hat Yai, Eem, and others, Portland, Oregon
• Chris Williams, Lucille's Hospitality Group, Houston
• Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group (Fork, a.kitchen + bar, High Street Philly, and others), Philadelphia
• Reem Assil, Reem's, Oakland and San Francisco• WINNER: Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah, Georgia
• Peter Chang, Peter Chang, Virginia and Maryland
• Jason Vincent, Giant, Chicago
• Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle