He Is This Year's 'Outstanding Chef'

Michael Rafidi, from the restaurant Albi in DC, wins James Beard honor
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2024 9:53 AM CDT
He Is This Year's 'Outstanding Chef'
Chef Michael Rafidi of Albi in Washington, DC, won the James Beard award for Outstanding Chef.   (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

They are essentially the Oscars of the food world, notes CNN. The James Beard Foundation has named its top chefs and restaurants in the US for 2024, and the big winners have an international theme. The full list is at Eater. Some highlights:

  • Outstanding chef: Michael Rafidi of the restaurant Albi in Washington, DC. Rafidi, who is Palestinian, uses Old World techniques. Everything, for example, is cooked over charcoal. Menu items include grape leaves stuffed with lamb, as well as sfeeha, or meat pies. "This is for Palestine and all the Palestinian people out there," he told the AP after winning.

  • Outstanding restaurant: Langbaan, in Portland, Oregon. The restaurant "transforms classic Thai food with Pacific Northwest ingredients on a five-course tasting menu," per CNN.
  • Best new restaurant: Dakar NOLA in New Orleans. The Senegalese restaurant also makes use of traditional New Orleans ingredients. "I always knew that West Africa had something to say," chef Serigne Mbaye said at the awards ceremony in Chicago. "That kept me going."
  • Emerging chef: Masako Morishita of Perry's in DC.
  • Outstanding pastry chef or baker: Atsuko Fujimoto of Norimoto Bakery in Portland, Maine.
  • Outstanding bakery: ZU Bakery in Portland, Maine.
  • Outstanding bar: Jewel of the South in New Orleans.
  • Outstanding restaurateur: Colorado couple Erika and Kelly Whitaker, whose restaurants (including the Wolf's Tailor) focus on sustainability practices.
(More James Beard Awards stories.)

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