Get to know the Minnesota chefs & restaurants up for 2017 James Beard Awards


Ann Kim of Young Joni is a first-time semifinalist for Best Chef: Midwest in the 2017 James Beard Awards // Photo by Wing Ta

The James Beard Foundation announced its list of semifinalists for 2017 chef and restaurant categories today, and Minnesota was well-represented with 13 chefs and two restaurants making the cut.

The Best Chef: Midwest category, which last year was awarded to The Bachelor Farmer’s Paul Berglund, includes Thomas Boemer of Corner Table, Mike Brown, Bob Gerken, and James Winberg of Travail, Steven Brown of Tilia, Jim Christiansen of Heyday, Jorge Guzman of Brewer’s Table, Erick Harcey of Upton 43, Ann Kim of Young Joni, and Minnesota native Lisa Carlson of Chef Shack Bay City in Bay City, Wisconsin.

In addition, Esker Grove is nominated in the Best New Restaurant category, Michelle Gayer of Salty Tart is up for Outstanding Baker, Marvel Bar is once again nominated for Outstanding Bar Program, Alex Roberts of Restaurant Alma is nominated in the Outstanding Chef category, and Diane Yang of Spoon and Stable is up for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

These nominees represent the best of the best in Twin Cities dining culture. Here at The Growler, we’ve been privileged enough for our resident chef, Jon Wipfli, to host several of the chefs in his kitchen over the past couple years for his Minnesota Spoon column. We’ve covered others through various lenses, including our monthly Craft Cocktail feature. See the links below to learn more about them.

The James Beard Foundation will announce the finalists in Los Angeles on March 15, and the winners will be announced at the 2017 James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago on May 1.

Minnesota Spoon: Smoked brisket recipe from Thomas Boemer of Revival and Corner Table

MN Spoon Boemer Brisket95

Thomas Boemer’s smoked brisket // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

How Travail’s model is creating chefs that meet diners’ expectations face-to-face


L to R: James Winberg, Mike Brown, and Bob Gerken, owners of Travail Kitchen & Amusements // Photo by Aaron Davidson

Minnesota Spoon: Tacos and timing with chef Jorge Guzman


Jorge Guzman // Photo by Wing Ta

Minnesota Spoon: Smørrebrød with Erick Harcey of Upton 43

MN Spoon Smørrebrød by Wing Ta66

Smørrebrød are Nordic-style open-faced sandwiches // Photo by Wing Ta

Kimchee and KFC: Young Joni’s Ann Kim and Adam Gorski on new American food traditions


Ann Kim, left, and Adam Gorski are the people behind the new Young Joni in Northeast Minneapolis // Photo by Wing Ta

Trailblazers 2016: Alex Roberts of Alma: Cafe, Hotel, and Restaurant


Alex Roberts // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

Craft Cocktail: Contemporary Gin Fizz at Esker Grove


Esker Grove // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler


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