Colorado has also been added to the new "Mountain" region.
On Wednesday, the James Beard Foundation announced the semi-finalists for its 2020 Restaurant and Chef Awards, and Colorado scored big. Local chefs, restaurateurs, and iconic staples received 18 semi-finalist nominations for James Beard Awards, which is considered one of the most important awards in the culinary industry.
Some nominees include Frasca Food & Wine, a Boulder-based tavernetta, which received the award for Outstanding Service in 2019. This year, Frasca Food & Wine is a semi-finalist for Outstanding Restaurant. Sushi Den in Denver also joined the list of nominees for Outstanding Restaurant, a long-time Japanese restaurant in the city.
Various chefs were nominated for Best Chef of the Mountain Region, including Carrie Baird (Bar Dough), Brother Luck (Four by Brother Luck), and Dana Rodríguez (Super Mega Bien).
Spuntino, a rustic Italian eatery in Denver, had one of its chefs, Austin Nickel, nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year.
Complete List of Colorado James Beard Nominees:
Best New Restaurant
Sunday Vinyl – Denver
Outstanding Bar Program
Williams & Graham – Denver
Frasca Food & Wine – Boulder
Sushi Den – Denver
Jennifer Jasinski, Beth Gruitch, Crafted Concepts – Denver
Outstanding Wine Program
element 47 at The Little Nell – Aspen
Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer
Todd Leopold and Scott Leopold, Leopold Bros. – Denver
Rising Star Chef of the Year
Austin Nickel, Spuntino – Denver
Best Chef: Mountain Region
Caroline Glover, Annette – Aurora
Brother Luck, Four by Brother Luck – Colorado Springs
Luis Young, Penrose Room – Colorado Springs
Tommy Lee, Hop Alley, Denver
Duncan Holmes, Beckon – Denver
Carrie Baird, Bar Dough – Denver
Cindhura Reddy, Spuntino – Denver
Dana Rodriguez, Super Mega Bien – Denver
Kelly Whitaker, The Wolf’s Tailor – Denver
Josh Niernberg, Bin 707 Foodbar – Grand Junction
As the weeks pass, the awards will reduce the number of nominees and reveal the finalists on Wednesday, March 25. The 2020 James Beard Awards Gala will then take place on Monday, May 4, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
A James Beard Award is one of America's most coveted honors for chefs, restaurants, food journalists, authors, and other leaders.