Winners will be announced today in the restaurants and chefs categories of the 2022 James Beard Awards.
Two Alabama chefs are in the running. Adam Evans of Automatic Seafood and Oysters in Birmingham and Timothy Hontzas of Johnny’s Restaurant in Homewood are finalists in the category of best chef in the South.
Evans and Hontzas are competing against chefs from three restaurants in New Orleans: Blake Aguillard and Trey Smith of Saint-Germain, Melissa M. Martin of Mosquito Supper Club and Isaac Toups of Toups’ Meatery. Best chef in the South covers the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, plus Puerto Rico.
If you’d like to follow the action tonight, here’s how to do it.
When does the James Beard Awards ceremony start?
The ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. CT at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Chef Kwame Onwuachi — a James Beard winner, author and veteran of “Top Chef” — will be the host.
How can I watch the awards ceremony?
The awards will be streamed live via the James Beard Foundation’s Twitter feed. The stream also includes red carpet arrivals.
Does Alabama have a history at the James Beard Awards?
The James Beard Awards, often called the “Oscars of the food world,” have recognized culinary excellence in Alabama before. Birmingham’s Highlands Bar and Grill won the award for the most outstanding restaurant in America in 2018, for example, and Dolester Miles of Highlands Bar and Grill was named outstanding pastry chef in America that same year.
Previous James Beard Award winners from Alabama include:
- Chris Hastings, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Birmingham, best chef South, 2012.
- The Bright Star, Bessemer, America’s Classic winner, 2010.
- Frank Stitt, Highlands Bar and Grill, best chef Southeast, 2001.
Who else is nominated in the restaurants and chefs categories?
See the full list of finalists here.
What else do I need to know?
The James Beard Foundation “celebrates and supports the people behind America’s food culture, while pushing for new standards in the restaurant industry to create a future where all have the opportunity to thrive,” according to its website.
The James Beard Awards canceled the awards in its restaurant and chefs categories in 2020 after finalists were announced, due to the impact of COVID on the restaurant industry.
The foundation’s traditional awards also were nixed in 2021, in favor of an event “focused on “members of the independent restaurant community who have shown leadership during this crisis, and honoring those who have made a significant impact on the industry and in their communities when it was needed most.”
The 2022 James Beard Awards will be the first in two years, after a hiatus during which the Awards underwent a full audit of its policies and procedures, continuing the work to remove bias, increase transparency and accessibility, and making the program more aligned with the Foundation’s mission and values,” according to a press release from the foundation.