James Beard Awards 2019: Young Joni, Hai Hai, Grand Cafe Chefs Named Finalists

The winner will be announced in May
Young Joni chef Ann Kim

Photo by TJ Turner

Congratulations to a trio of woman chefs at Minneapolis restaurants named finalists for the 2019 James Beard Awards. Young Joni’s Ann Kim, Grand Cafe’s Jamie Malone, and Hai Hai’s Christina Nguyen made it to the top five in Best Chefs in America: Midwest award category. (It’s the second year in a row that Kim was named a finalist.)

They are competing to take the title that chef Gavin Kaysen (Spoon and Stable, Bellecour, and now Demi) won in 2018.

Earlier this year, four other Minnesota chefs—Thomas Boemer (In Bloom), Steven Brown (Tilia), Daniel del Prado (Martina), Karyn Tomlinson (Corner Table)—made it to the Best Chefs: Midwest semifinal round.

Other semifinalists included Popol Vuh for Best New Restaurant, Spoon and Stable’s Diane Moua for Outstanding Pastry Chef, Restaurant Alma for Outstanding Restaurant, Spoonriver’s Brenda Langton and Timothy Kane for Outstanding Restauranteur, The Bachelor Farmer for Outstanding Wine Program, and Hyacinth’s Rikki Giambruno for Rising Star Chef of the Year.

Another Minnesotan receiving Beard accolades in 2019 is chef Sean Sherman. The founder of the Sioux Chef and author of James Beard-winning cookbook The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen won the James Beard leadership award.

Sherman receives his honor on May 5 at the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards, and winners will be announced May 6 at the 2019 James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago.