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January 25, 2023

Philadelphia semifinalists for 2023 James Beard Awards include Ellen Yin, Heavy Metal Sausage Co.

Nearly 20 chefs and restaurants from the region were recognized by the culinary industry organization; Winners will be announced June 5

Food & Drink James Beard Foundation
James Beard Awards philly Killian Meara/Mike Prince

Wednesday's list pf the 2023 James Beard Award semifinalists includes 18 chefs and restaurants from the Philadelphia region, including Pat Alfiero of Heavy Metal Sausage Co., 1527 Porter St. in South Philly.

The James Beard Foundation revealed the 2023 restaurant and chef semifinalists for its prestigious James Beard Awards on Wednesday, and several Philly-area culinary creatives are in the mix.

The long list includes 18 people and places from Philadelphia and South Jersey, including Ellen Yin from High Street Hospitality, Amanda Shulman from Her Place Supper Club, Emily Riddell from the French bakery Machine Shop at the Bok Building and Heavy Metal Sausage Co. in South Philly.

Some of this year's nominees were also on the semifinalist list last year, including Jesse Ito of Royal Izakaya and Chutatip "Nok" Suntaranon of Kalaya Thai Kitchen

Shulman is once again nominated for an emerging chef award for her work at the restaurant/perpetual dinner party Her Place Supper Club. The tiny BYOB 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. 

Yin, who created High Street Hospitality Group alongside Chef Eli Kulp, is a semifinalist for the outstanding restauranteur award. The Hospitality Group owns several popular restaurants in the city, including Fork in Old City, in Rittenhouse Square and High Street, which reopened in Center City earlier this year after shuttering its original location. 

The James Beard Foundation has garnered some controversy in recent years. In August of 2020, the organization canceled the awards ceremony in light of COVID-19 difficulties, characterizing them as "minor." But it was soon brought to light that several chefs were asked to withdraw nominations over alleged bad behavior in the kitchen, the New York Times reported. 

As concerns about racial inequities grew, the James Beard Foundation canceled the 2021 awards and conducted an audit of its policies and procedures in order to ensure more diversity and eliminate any systemic bias. When it returned in 2022, the foundation pledged that at least 50% of the nominating committee and judges would be composed of people of color by the following year. 

Last year, Cristina Martinez of South Philly Barbacoa won the James Beard Award for best Mid-Atlantic chef. She was the sole winner from Philadelphia. Past winners include Michael Solomonov's Zahav for best restaurant in 2019. 

The James Beard Foundation is also hosting a one-night-only tasting gala at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on March 28 as part of its Taste America tour. Suntaranon is hosting the event, which features a handful of other semifinalists for the awards. 

The Philadelphia and South Jersey semifinalists for the 2023 James Beard Awards are listed below. The full list of semifinalists can be found on the James Beard Foundation's website. 

Outstanding Restauranteur

Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group (Fork,, High Street Philly), Philadelphia

Outstanding Chef

Shigeru Fukuyoshi, Sagami, Collingswood, N.J.

Outstanding Restaurant

Friday Saturday Sunday, Philadelphia

Emerging Chef

Amanda Shulman, Her Place Supper Club, Philadelphia

Best New Restaurant

Heavy Metal Sausage Co., Philadelphia

Outstanding Bakery

Denise's Delicacies, Philadelphia
Mighty Bread Co., Philadelphia

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

Emily Riddell, Machine Shop, Philadelphia

Outstanding Hospitality

Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages

Monk's Cafe, Philadelphia

Outstanding Bar

La Caveau, Philadelphia

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Andrew Henshaw, Laser Wolf, Philadelphia
Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya, Philadelphia 
Dianocio Jiménez, Cantina La Martina, Philadelphia
Thanh Nguyen, Gabriella's Vietnam, Philadelphia
Chutatip "Nok" Suntaranon, Kalaya, Philadelphia
Phillip Manganaro, Park Place Café & Restaurant, Merchantville, N.J.
Melissa McGrath, Sweet Amalia Market and Kitchen, Newfield, N.J.