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Here Are the 2019 James Beard Awards Finalists From D.C.

Jaleo, Kith and Kin, and Centrolina are among those honored

The finalists for the James Beard Awards were announced on Wednesday, March 27.
James Beard Foundation [Official photo]
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for its annual awards today during a live-streamed news conference at Hugo’s, Beard award-winning chef Hugo Ortega’s Mexican restaurant in Houston. Semifinalists were announced last month.

D.C. chefs Amy Brandwein (Centrolina) and Tom Cunanan (Bad Saint) made the cut for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. As did Cindy Wolf (Charleston in Baltimore, Maryland), and chef Rich Landau for Vedge in Philadelphia; he also runs Fancy Radish in D.C.

While D.C. players made the semifinalist pool for outstanding restaurateur, service, wine program, bar program, chef, and best new restaurant categories, none made the final cut.

Winners will be announced Monday, May 6, at a gala at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, its fifth year there. The 2019 Media Awards will be held on Friday, April 26, at Pier Sixty in New York City.

Here are the D.C. area chefs and restaurants who made the cut this year:

Outstanding Pastry Chef

A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

  • Pichet Ong, Brothers and Sisters, Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Restaurant

A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service. Eligible restaurants must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years.

  • Jaleo

Rising Star Chef of the Year

A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

  • Kwame Onwuachi, Kith and Kin, Washington, D.C.

Best Chefs

Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years with the three most recent years spent in the region.

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

  • Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C.
  • Tom Cunanan, Bad Saint, Washington, D.C.

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.