Wisconsin has strong showing among 2022 James Beard semifinalists

Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite. Photo by Kevin Miyazaki

Thirteen Wisconsin chefs and restaurants are in the running for the 2022 James Beard Awards.

The James Beard Foundation on Wednesday announced the semifinalists for its annual Restaurant and Chef Awards, which is considered among the industry’s most prestigious recognitions of culinary talent.

Seven Wisconsin chefs, including five from Milwaukee, made the 20-name list for Best Chef Midwest:

The state’s culinary scene was represented in six other national categories: Nicolas Blouin of Destination Kohler (Kohler) for Outstanding Pastry Chef; Joe Muench of Black Shoe Hospitality (Milwaukee) for Outstanding Restaurateur; Kyle Knall of Birch (Milwaukee) for Outstanding Chef; Odd Duck (Milwaukee) for Outstanding Restaurant; Sanford (Milwaukee) for Outstanding Hospitality; Goodkind (Milwaukee) for Outstanding Bar Program.

This is not the first James Beard nomination for many of these. Karen Bell was a semifinalist for Best Chef Midwest in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. She moved on to the finalist round in 2018, joining fellow Milwaukee chef and restaurateur Justin Carlisle who was up for the same award, but they were both came up short.

Dane Baldwin was a semifinalist in 2019 and 2020; Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, who also own DanDan and Fool’s Errand, made the list in both 2018 and 2019.

The 2022 James Beard Awards return after a two-year hiatus, in recognition of the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating toll on the restaurant industry. During this time, the program underwent a full audit of its policies and procedures, in an effort to remove bias, increase transparency and accessibility, and make the program more aligned with the foundation’s mission and values, according to a news release.

Final nominees will be announced March 16 and winners will be named at a June 13 awards ceremony at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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