Meet The 2018 Los Angeles James Beard Award Finalists

As LA cements its place in the world of culinary cities, it is no surprise that our town is well-represented in this year's list of James Beard Award finalists!

No city in the world understands the gravity of getting a major award from your peers better than we do. As Oscar’s hometown, we get it. 

Being honored with the right award from the right group of your peers can make or transform an entire career. Even being nominated can change one’s life trajectory. Whether its an Academy Award nomination for an actor or a James Beard nomination for a chef, the outcome is the same, the recipient is on a potential fast-track to stardom. 

Like the Academy Awards, the James Beard awards are considered the most prestigious in North America because the nominees and winners are chosen by other culinary professionals, people who understand the level of dedication it requires to succeed in this industry. The James Beard Foundation has also distinguished itself by consistently finding and awarding new talent, which means that the list of Beard nominees each year is also a roadmap to the best places to eat as well as a guide to the most exciting chefs to follow. 

“….and the nominees are…..” 

Best New Restaurant - Kismet, Los Angeles


This new player is a welcome addition to the Moroccan/Middle Eastern options available in LA. Chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson offer authentic food that is flavorful and exciting in their cozy spot near Hollywood and Silverlake.

Chef Sara Kramer @misssarakramer

Chef Sarah Hymanson @shymanson

Best Restaurant - Felix Trattoria, Venice

ROLLING SFOGLIA @bonappetitmag is V CHILL #batestkitchen #FLXNYC @felixlosangeles

A post shared by EVAN FUNKE (@evanfunke) on


Chef Evan Funke offers a lot of familiar foods but with his own personal touch! At Felix Trattoria you can expect delicious Italian food that is on another level; great wine program too!

Felix Trattoria @felixlosangeles

Outstanding Pastry Chef - Margarita Manzke Of République, Los Angeles

Pyramid of bread. #republiquela

A post shared by Margie Lorenzana-Manzke (@mlmanzke) on

Chef @mlmanzke

This beloved French spot is a huge hit with Angelenos for weekend brunch. With the amazing pastries created by Margarita Manzke, République is the perfect way to start your morning any day of the week.

République - @republiquela

Outstanding Restaurateur - Caroline Styne Of The Lucques Group


The Lucques Group (Lucques; a.o.c.; Tavern and others), Los Angeles

The Lucques Group is responsible for some of LA's best and most favorite restaurants. Caroline Styne has a magic touch and it's no surprise to us that standouts such as Tavern and a.o.c. are under her leadership.

Lucques - @lucquesla

a.o.c restaurant & wine bar -  @aocla

Tavern Restaurant - @tavernla

The Larder at Burton Way - @larderburtonway

Larder Baking Company - @larderbakingco

Outstanding Wine Program - a.o.c., Los Angeles


a.o.c. is the real deal. From start to finish you are treated to something special. a.o.c. is a pioneering wine bar that first paired an indulgent list of wine by the glass with a menu of market-driven small plates. This spot that has become a bit of an institution with Angeleno wine connoisseurs.

a.o.c. - @aocla

Rising Star Chef of the Year - Miles Thompson Of Michael’s, Santa Monica


A post shared by Miles Thompson (@milescooks) on


Lauded by many for breathing new life into one of the regions best New American bistros, it is no surprise that Miles Thompson is a finalist for the incredibly prestigious Rising Star Award, and damn do we hope that he gets it!

Chef Miles Thompson - @milescooks

Best Chef in Western Region - Michael Cimarusti Of Providence, Los Angeles


Chef Michael Cimarusti has created elegant and contemporary seafood-centric cuisine for a decade. Read more about Chef Michael Cimarusti and Providence here.

Providence Restaurant - @providencela

Best Chef in Western Region - Jeremy Fox Of Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica


Over the past 15 years, Chef Jeremy Fox has worked at many high-profile restaurants in the country. Read more about how he helps make Rustic Canyon a must visit restaurant in LA here.

Chef Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon - @rusticcanyon

Best Chef in Western Region - Jessica Koslow Of Sqirl, Los Angeles


Chef Jessica Koslow has become an integral part of the East Hollywood community, earning a 2014 StarChefs Rising Star Community Chef Award. Read more about her here. Find out more about Sqirl here.

Chef Jessica Koslow of Sqirl - @sqirlla

Best Chef in Western Region - Travis Lett Of Gjelina, Venice

Fennel salami pizza | @coastalfarmssp @the_garden_of_

A post shared by Gjelina (@gjelinarestaurant) on


A Jersey-born, self-taught chef. Read more about Chef Travis Lett here.

Chef Travis Lett of Gjelina - @gjelinarestaurant

There you have it, the complete list of this year's James Beard Foundation award finalists for the Los Angeles area. We recommend calling now to book your table, once the world knows how awesome our rock star chefs are it's going to be tough to get a seat. Happy eating, LA!

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Brian McCullough
Brian McCullough has been eating for over three decades - with many of those years in and around LA. Having left SoCal for college, Brian brought back with him a love for grillin' and a desire to make up for all those meals he missed in LA. When he's not eating, he's searching for where his next meal is going to come from.


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