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Here Are D.C.’s 2020 James Beard Awards Semifinalists

Newcomers Thamee, Cane, and Anju are all up for big honors

From left, Thamee owners Simone Jacobson, Jocelyn Law-Yone, and Eric Wang.
The owners of Thamee, Eater D.C.’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year, oversee a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The James Beard Foundation today announced its Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists for 2020, officially kicking off restaurant award season.

This list will be whittled down to finalists on March 25, with winners announced at a May 4 gala in Chicago.

Rooster & Owl and Burmese spot Thamee (Eater DC’s Restaurant of the Year) are notably featured the Best New Restaurant category. Daniela Moreira (Timber Pizza Co.; Call Your Mother), Paola Velez (Kith/Kin), and Angel Barreto (Anju) are up for Rising Star Chef of the Year. Katherine Thompson, known for her famed olive oil cake at Thompson Italian in Falls Church, is a semifinalist for Outstanding Pasty Chef. The team at Richmond’s stellar Sub Rosa Bakery are competing for Outstanding Baker.

A diverse semifinalist pool for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic includes representatives from Eater 38 spots Green Almond Pantry, Poca Madre, Mama Chang, Centrolina, Cane, Tail Up Goat, and Zenebech.

D.C. was, however, snubbed in the outstanding bar program this year (the closest nod is for Clavel Mezcaleria in Baltimore). Wine categories show local representation from Penn Quarter’s Flight Wine Bar and Delaplane, Virginia’s RdV Vineyards.

Here’s the full list of locals looking to win big:

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

  • Victor Albisu, Poca Madre, Washington, D.C.
  • Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C.
  • Peter and Lisa Chang, Mama Chang, Fairfax, VA
  • Zenebech Dessu, Zenebech Restaurant, Washington, D.C.
  • Danny Lee, Anju, Washington, D.C.
  • Cagla Onal-Urel, Green Almond Pantry, Washington, D.C.
  • Peter Prime, Cane, Washington, D.C.
  • Jon Sybert, Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.
  • Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore

Best New Restaurant

  • Rooster & Owl, Washington, D.C.
  • Thamee, Washington, D.C.

Rising Star Chef of the Year

  • Angel Barreto, Anju, Washington, D.C.
  • Daniela Moreira, Timber Pizza Co., Washington, D.C.
  • Paola Velez, Kith/Kin, Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Pastry Chef

  • Katherine Thompson, Thompson Italian, Falls Church, VA

Outstanding Chef

  • Ann Cashion, Johnny’s Half Shell, Washington, D.C.
  • Vikram Sunderam, Rasika, Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Hospitality

  • Marcel’s, Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Restaurant

  • Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
  • Komi, Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • Ruth Gresser, Pizzeria Paradiso, Washington, D.C. (Pizzeria Paradiso)

Outstanding Wine Program

  • Flight Wine Bar, Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Producer

  • Rutger de Vink, RdV Vineyards, Delaplane, VA