Food News

James Beard 2022 Finalists Announced: Miami Nearly Shut Out

Zak Stern heads Zak the Baker.
Zak Stern heads Zak the Baker. Photo by Platonic Studios
Well, James Beard did it again. The awards committee virtually shut Miami's culinary professionals out of the running for another year.

In February, the James Beard Foundation listed its picks for the semifinalists for its 2022 awards — the first step in the uphill battle for a chef to earn the coveted award.

At the time of the announcement, Miami was on the leaderboard with 11 local chefs and establishments in the running.

Today, the finalists for the 2022 James Beard Awards were announced, and only one Miamian made the cut.

That's right — of the 11 Miami semifinalists, only one is still standing: Zak Stern, owner of Zak the Baker, is a nominee in the Outstanding Baker category. His fellow nominees include Maya-Camille Broussard (Justice of the Pies, Chicago, Illinois), Atsuko Fujimoto (Norimoto Bakery, Portland, Maine), Don Guerra (Barrio Bread, Tucson, Arizona), and Caroline Schweitzer and Lauren Heemstra (Wild Crumb, Bozeman, Montana). Read the full list of nominees here.

This announcement marks another disappointment for Miami's culinary scene, which by all accounts has been earning a reputation for cultivating a diverse and interesting restaurant community.

And, while there's no debate that Zak Stern has earned his place at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 13, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Miami is home to plenty of chefs worthy of national recognition.

Later this year, Miami has another chance to make its mark on the culinary map when the first edition of the Michelin Guide Miami, Orlando, and Tampa comes out sometime in the spring of 2022.

For now, Miami's entire culinary community is rooting for one Wynwood baker to bring home the bread in June. 
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss