The 2020 James Beard Foundation Award semifinalists have been named, and restaurants in both St. Louis and Kansas City have a big showing.
In St. Louis, Best Chef: Midwest nominees include Michael Gallina of Vicia, Lona Luo of Lona's Lil Eats in the Fox Park neighborhood, Jesse Mendica of Olive + Oak in Webster Groves and, as a first-time nominee, Loryn Nalic of Balkan Treat Box in Webster Groves. Kansas City nominees for Best Chef: Midwest include Michael Corvino from Corvino Supper Club and Tasting Room, Linda Duerr from The Restaurant at 1900 in Mission Woods, Kansas, Nick Goellner from The Antler Room and Vaughn Good of Fox & Pearl.
Indo, the acclaimed Botanical Heights eatery we profiled in our February issue, also showed up big this year. Chef-owner Nick Bognar is nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year, and Indo itself is nominated for a major honor: Best New Restaurant, a nationwide category.
Mai Lee in Brentwood – the first Vietnamese restaurant to open in St. Louis decades ago – is nominated for Outstanding Restaurant for the first time, also an esteemed nationwide category.
On the sweet side, Megan Garrelts of Rye in Leawood, Kansas is once again nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef, while Nathaniel Reid of his eponymous Kirkwood, Missouri, spot, Nathaniel Reid Bakery, and Taylor Petrehn of 1900 Barker in Lawrence, Kansas, are both up for the nationwide title Outstanding Baker.
A local brewery was also honored this year: Scratch Brewing out of Ava, Illinois, which focuses on beers made from locally grown and foraged ingredients, is nominated in the Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Producer category.
Finalists will be announced on March 25, and winners will be announced at the annual gala in Chicago on May 4. View the full list of semifinalists here.
Editor's Note: This post was updated to include Scratch Brewing's nomination.