James Beard Awards Process
The Beard Foundation will release the list of semi-finalists for this year’s awards program next week. While we wait to find out what Maine chefs and restaurants made the cut, I thought it would be good time to research how the Foundation selects nominees and pick the winners.
Here’s what the process looks like:
October 2015 – The Beard Foundation put out an open call for the public to submit their suggestions. In 2014 35,000 entries were received.
Late 2015 – 250 regional panelists (25 for each of the 10 regions) submit their recommendations.
Early 2016 – the Restaurant and Chefs Awards Committee review submissions from panelists and the public to select the strongest contenders in each category.
February 17 – The “long list” of semi-final nominees is released.
February/March – regional panelists, former award winners and committee members—about 600 people in all—vote. The top 5 entries in each category are become nominees. Ballots are sent out and votes are tabulated by the independent accounting firm Lutz & Carr.
March 15 – the “short list” of nominees is released.
March/April – A final ballot is conducted with the same group (panelists, winners, and committee members) to determine the winner in each of the categories.
May 2 – the winners are announced at the Beard Awards Gala in Chicago.
There are a total of 21 restaurant and chef awards in 12 categories. Maine chefs and restaurants have been in the running every year for at least the past decade.
- Outstanding Restaurateur
- Outstanding Chef
- Outstanding Restaurant
- Rising Star Chef of the Year
- Best New Restaurant
- Outstanding Pastry Chef
- Outstanding Baker
- Outstanding Service
- Outstanding Wines, Beer, or Spirits Professional
- Outstanding Wine Program
- Outstanding Bar Program
- Best Chefs for each of the 10 Regions
For more information visit the Policies and Procedures page on the JBF website.