Maine’s Five James Beard Award Finalists Represented the State Well
After a respectable showing in the early nominations, Maine will take a strong representation into this year's James Beard Award Finals.
Maine has chefs, restauranteurs, and a baker all represented in the finals of America's premiere culinary awards..
The James Beard Award
Based in New York, the James Beard Awards recognize the greatest in culinary achievement. The goal is:
to recognize exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.
These are world-class awards. Besides a Michelin Star, the James Beard Awards are the cream of the crop. To even be nominated is a tremendous accomplishment.
James Beard Award Maine Nominees
Maine is represented in the James Beard Award finals by five nominees, all of whom are based in Portland. This is not surprising, considering the town's foodie reputation.
Three chefs are up for "Best Chef, Northeast", those being Vien Dobui, of CÔNG TỬ BỘT, Courtney Loreg of Woodford Food and Beverage, and Damian Sansonetti of Chaval in Portland.
Leeward in Portland is up for "Best New Restaurant." Leeward's pastry chef, Kate Fisher-Ham, had also reached the semifinals for "Best Pastry Chef." However, she did not make the final cut.
And last, but certainly not least, Atsuko Fujimoto of Norimoto Bakery in Portland, is up for "Outstanding Baker." Fujimoto is one of five finalists for the top award.
The winners will be announced later this year, and celebrated at the Lyric Opera in Chicago on June 13.
Below is a deeper look at Maine's finalists.