March 29, 2023
The James Beard Foundation revealed the 2023 nominees for its prestigious James Beard Awards on Wednesday, and six Philadelphia culinary creatives are in the mix.
The foundation announced the semifinalists in January, recognizing 18 chefs and restaurants from the Philadelphia region. The pack has now narrowed to just five chefs and one restaurant, all of which are in Philadelphia. These include Amanda Shulman from Her Place Supper Club, Jesse Ito from Royal Sushi, Dionicio Jiménez from Cantina La Martina, Chutatip "Nok" Suntaranon from Kalaya and Friday Saturday Sunday in Rittenhouse Square.
The Hospitality Group owns several popular restaurants in the city, including Fork in Old City, a. kitchen+bar in Rittenhouse Square and High Street, which reopened in Center City earlier this year after shuttering its original location.
Shulman was nominated for an emerging chef award for her work at the restaurant/perpetual dinner party Her Place Supper Club. The tiny spot at 1740 Sansom St. has gained popularity since it started as a pop-up in 2021. The rotating tasting menu and weekly reservation drops have helped make it one of the most creative concepts in the city. Shulman was previously named a semifinalist for the award in 2022.
Friday Saturday Sunday was nominated for outstanding restaurant. Helmed by Chef Chad Williams, the Rittenhouse Square eatery has been visited by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and is former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles' favorite restaurant in the city. Williams' eight-course, seafood-centric tasting menu is just part of why the restaurant is among the highest-rated in the city on Resy and OpenTable.
The bulk of Philly's nominations are in the best chef Mid-Atlantic category, comprised of chefs hailing from Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Ito was recognized for his work at Royal Sushi & Izakaya. The Queen Village restaurant features a bar serving Japanese pub food like steamed shrimp and karaage fried chicken. There's also a chef's counter experience with Ito himself, but reservations are some of the hardest to snag in the city. Ito was nominated in the category last year, and was previously named a semifinalist for rising star chef of the year (now emerging chef) four years in a row.
Jiménez received his first nomination for Cantina La Martina, a bar and restaurant located beneath the Market-Frankford El's Somerset Station in Frankford. After spending much of his career working in popular Philly restaurants like ChinChin, Vetri, Xochitl and El Rey, the Mexico native opened his first restaurant in early 2022.
Suntaranon was nominated for her work at Kalaya Thai Kitchen, which recently moved from its original location in the Italian Market to a new spot in Fishtown. This is the second chef nomination for Suntaranon, whose authentic Thai eatery was nominated for best new restaurant in 2020. Kalaya has received widespread praise since it opened in 2019 and was named best new restaurant in the country by Esquire.
Cristina Martinez took home the James Beard Award for best Mid-Atlantic chef for her work at South Philly Barbacoa in 2022. The restauranteur opened the restaurant as a food cart 2012, and now runs its storefront on Ninth Street near the Italian Market.
The award season will end with a Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 5 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The full list of nominees can be found on the James Beard Foundation's website.