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The James Beard Foundation Removes D.C. Chef Peter Prime and Others From Award Nominations

The JBF accidentally included chefs who were not actively working at currently open restaurants

Peter Prime in the kitchen.
Chef Peter Prime left Cane in February.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

A week after announcing their nominations, the James Beard Foundation did an about face, removing chef Peter Prime’s award nomination for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic, according to an email it sent to voters this morning.

Prime, nominated for his work at the H Street’s hit Trinidadian restaurant Cane, departed Cane and the highly anticipated St. James restaurant in mid-February according to the Washingtonian. That was about two weeks before the nominees were announced. The JBF’s eligibility rules for its buzzy awards state that “only candidates who are active and whose business(es) are open will be considered.”

Prime wasn’t the only chef erroneously included in the JBAs this year. Luis Young of Penrose Room in Colorado Springs and Ben Welch of Botanica in Wildwood, Missouri were also removed because of similar reasons. Welch left Botanica in January 2022 to work on a cookbook and find a home for a new restaurant he’s working on. Meanwhile, the Penrose Room is listed as “temporarily closed.”

Meanwhile, Chicago chef Jason Vincent of Giant was only added to the outstanding chef category on the James Beard Foundation’s website yesterday, six days after the list of nominations was originally released, because of a “clerical error.”

Prime, Eater DC’s 2019 Chef of the Year, helmed both restaurants with sister and former business partner Jeanine Prime. They cited a “private family matter” as the reason for the departure, also according to the Washingtonian.

While his sister plans to open St. James this spring as an ode to the Prime family’s Trinidadian roots, Prime says he is writing a cookbook about the foundations of Caribbean cuisine.

The James Beard Foundation will announce the final nominees for all award categories on Wednesday, March 16. The 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony will take place at a gala in Chicago on Monday, June 13 — the first time the awards program has been held since 2019.

Update (3/2/2022; 4:45 p.m. EST): Eater corrected an error on the date of the awards ceremony, which will be Monday, June 13, 2022.

Update (3/2/2022; 11:45 p.m.): This story was updated with new information, including the addition of Chicago chef Jason Vincent to the list of nominees.


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