The James Beard Foundation announced its finalists in the restaurant and chef award categories on March 16, and three Portlanders out of a pool of seven semifinalists are still in the running to win. The foundation will announce the award winners on June 13.
Still in the running for restaurateur of the year against five other nominees is Akkapong “Earl” Ninsom of Hat Yai, Eem, Paa Dee, and Langbaan fame, who’s also opening the brand-new Phuket Café this Friday, March 18. He’s the only West Coast chef on the list, with other nominees hailing from Philadelphia, Atlanta, Phoenix, Washington DC, and Houston.
Two Portland chefs are finalists for Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific in a pool of five nominees. Thomas Pisha-Duffly, who opened Malaysian-Indonesian-Chinese genre-bending restaurants Gado Gado in 2019 and Oma’s Hideaway in 2021, is a finalist alongside Carlo Lamagna, whose work at Filipino restaurant Magna landed him a Food & Wine Best New Chef 2021 award.