Food News

Timon Balloo and Michael Beltran Are 2020 James Beard Award Semifinalists UPDATED

Timon Balloo is a 2020 James Beard Award semifinalist.
Timon Balloo is a 2020 James Beard Award semifinalist. Photo by Michael Pissari
UPDATE: Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the James Beard Foundation has postponed its James Beard Media Awards (originally scheduled for Friday, April 24, in New York City); the Leadership Awards (Sunday, May 3, in Chicago); and the Restaurant & Chef Awards (Monday, May 4, in Chicago). As of now, the nominee announcement will be made March 25 from Philadelphia as scheduled. New dates for the awards ceremonies have not yet been announced.

The James Beard Foundation recently announced its semifinalists in the restaurant and chef categories for 2020, and South Florida has several reasons to be proud.

Nine local chefs and establishments have been recognized for exemplary achievement in the culinary field in four categories.

This year, six of South Florida's best toques have been named semifinalists in the category Best Chef: South. Awards for Best Chef are divided regionally; Best Chef: South encompasses Alabama, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.


In addition, the James Beard Foundation gives nods to rising stars, beloved pastry chefs, and iconic Miami eateries.

Check out the full list of South Florida semifinalists:

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, Puerto Rico, FL, LA, MS)
  • Lindsay Autry - the Regional Kitchen & Public House, West Palm Beach
  • Timon Balloo - Balloo Restaurant, Miami
  • Michael Beltran - Ariete, Coconut Grove
  • Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer - Boia De, Miami
  • Niven Patel - Ghee Indian Kitchen, Miami
Outstanding Pastry Chef
  • Antonio Bachour - Bachour, Coral Gables
Outstanding Restaurant
  • Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami
Rising Star Chef of the Year
  • Valerie Chang - Itamae, Miami
This announcement marks the beginning of a long road to winning a coveted James Beard Award. The yearly process begins in mid-October when the James Beard Foundation holds an online open call for entries. The Beard Foundation's restaurant-and-chef committee reviews the entries, along with input solicited from an independent volunteer group of more than 250 judges across the nation, to determine eligibility and regional representation and then produces a ballot. A group of 600 judges — comprising regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Award winners — then votes on the nominees.

The judges will whittle down this year's semifinalist list, and the finalists will be announced Wednesday, March 25, in Philadelphia at the Barnes Foundation.


The winners will be announced Monday, May 4, at the annual awards gala and reception at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. For the full list of semifinalists, visit jamesbeard.org.
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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