Omaha’s two James Beard semifinalist chefs have not advanced

Neither of Omaha’s James Beard-nominated seminfinalist chefs made the cut to the finalist round, which were announced this afternoon on a Twitter live feed.

This year, Omaha had two chefs nominated in the Best Chef: Midwest Category. David Utterback runs Yoshitomo and Ben Maides runs Au Courant; both restaurants are in Benson. An Omaha chef has never advanced to the finals round of the awards.

The finalists for Best Chef: Midwest are:

  • Steven Brown, Tilia, Minneapolis
  • Michael Corvino, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, Kansas City
  • Michael Gallina, Vicia, St. Louis
  • Jamie Malone, Grand Cafe, Minneapolis
  • Christina Nguyen, Hai Hai, Minneapolis

Originally slated for a March 25 ceremony in Philadelphia, this year’s nominee announcement was intended to kick off the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the James Beard Awards. The Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists had already been released on February 26. All of the work of judging and balloting for the nominees had been done and we were just waiting for the date to come to make the nominees known.

“It was clear that those whose work in 2019 led them to be selected as a semifinalist—and perhaps ultimately a nominee or a winner—deserved the recognition they earned,” the foundation said in a release. “Those we consulted felt the Awards could also offer a glimmer of hope to an industry looking for light in a very dark time.”

The Foundation will announce the restaurant and chef award winners in September.

For more information, or to see the nominees, visit

Leave a Reply