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James Beard Award 2024 Best Chef Semifinalists: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine


New England’s vibrant food scene is a testament to the region’s rich heritage and innovative gastronomic spirit. The James Beard Awards celebrate culinary excellence and are a hallmark of achievement in the food industry. In this blog we shine a spotlight on the chefs — or should we say masterminds — that have been named semifinalists in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine.


Photos by Kathleen Standridge (top, center) and Lisa Nichols

The Shipwright’s Daughter, Mystic

The Shipwright’s Daughter

Head Chef: David Standridge

About: A New American farm-to-table gem on-site at The Whaler’s Inn offering a daily-changing menu that seamlessly blends modern New England cuisine with an elegant rustic charm, paying homage to Mystic’s maritime heritage.

Unique Menu Items: Organic Berkshire pork chop, squid ink spaghetti, fluke a la plancha, roasted oysters, Painted Hill beef strip loin.

Rhode Island

Photo credits clockwise from top: Brad Smith, Sarah Petrarca, Maaike Bernstrom, and David Dadekian

Newport Vineyards, Middletown

Newport Vineyards

Head Chef: Andy Teixeira

About: Farm-focused, 100% scratch cooking with estate-grown and locally sourced ingredients.

Unique Menu Items: Baked Narragansett Creamery feta, crispy monkfish nuggets, Newport Vineyard Garden antipasto board, Blackbird Farm pork belly grilled cheese, Hopkins Southdowns lamb pocket.

Foglia, Bristol


Head Chef: Peter Carvelli

About: An award-winning vegan restaurant that serves seasonal vegetable dishes, fresh-made pasta, and innovative plant-based dishes in an intimate dining room and bar.

Unique Menu Items: Celery root risotto, tempeh piccata, Lion’s Mane mushroom filet, agnolotti with sun dried tomato tofu ricotta and sunflower seed basil pesto.

Jahunger, Providence


Head Chef: Subat Dilmurat

About: Asian fusion restaurant that features Uyghur cuisine. The Uyghur people are a Turkic-speaking ethnic group based in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, China.

Unique Menu Items: Their staple, Jahunger Noodles, hand-pulled noodles topped with thin slices of beef, seasoned with a “tongue-numbing” secret sauce prepared using Sichuan peppercorns; Meefen, spicy house-made chili paste stir fried with gluten free rice noodles; Spicy Tiger, Smoky wok-tossed Asian chili with eggplant in garlic sauce; Not Your Typical Honey Cake, sponge cake made with honey and cream filling and coating that’s known for its lengthy preparation.

Dolores, Providence


Head Chef: Maria Meza

About: A fusion of contemporary and regional Mexican cuisine rooted in the culinary traditions of the Mixteca region of Puebla and Oaxaca, with a focus on their diverse array of moles, sauces, and stews.

Unique Menu Items: Beef tongue tacos, Mole Pistachio (octopus cooked over live fire served on a pistachio mole verde), Mole Poblano (pan-cooked Baffoni’s Farm chicken thighs served over Maria’s famous Mole Poblano), Tetela (two triangular tortillas filled with goat cheese and serrano peppers), Huarache (oval-shaped thick tortilla with chile-arbol-braised pork belly, jalapeno-onion-radish escabeche, frijoles, microgreens).

Yagi Noodles, Newport

Yagi Noodles

Head Chef: Basil Yu

About: A fusion of traditional Japanese and Chinese culinary methods into a ramen-centric American menu.

Unique Menu Items: Longevity noodles served brothless with Oak Owl Farm mushrooms and Wishing Stone Farm squash; lobster yi mein; scallion pancake focaccia; Good Fortune citrus salad with blood oranges; KFC bao bun; boba cafe serving bubble tea.


Photos courtesy of Leeward

Leeward, Portland


Head Chef: Jake Stevens

About: Italian restaurant featuring fresh-made pasta.

Unique Menu Items: Sheep’s milk ricotta gnudi, mezzelune ravioli, ricotta cannelloni, saffron malloreddus, seared Maine scallops, schmaltz-roasted fingerling potatoes.

Artemisia Cafe, Portland

Artemisia Cafe

Head Chef: Celia Bruns

About: Modern high-end American cuisine (and popular brunch spot!) with rotating menu.

Unique Menu Items: Brunch – Huevos Rancheros, eggs Florentine, Kielbasa hash; Lunch – Artemis smash burger, chicken artichoke; Dinner – balsamic-glazed beef short ribs, Coq au Vin (roasted half chicken), beer-braised pork shank.

Bar Futo, Portland

Bar Futo

Head Chef: Ian Driscoll

About: Binchotan-fired cooking. Binchotan is a highly dense Japanese charcoal that burns for an exceptionally long time.

Unique Menu Items: Skewers (Maine bluefin toro, chicken thigh, Big Mac); traditional yakitori (futo, skin, shoulder, achilles); small plates (umami hot chicken bites, fluke crudo); large plates (yaki ramen, chicken katsu).

Photo by Zack Bowen

The Honey Paw, Portland

The Honey Paw

Head Chef: Valerie Goldman

About: Modern pan-Asian cuisine that fuses handmade noodles with New England ingredients.

Unique Menu Items: Mushroom Hokkaido ramen with confit mushroom, smoked butter, pickled shiitake; lobster toast; Zao Lajiao pork with jasmine rice, fermented chili, cloud ear mushroom, and kohlrabi; honey soft serve with a chocolate shell and honeycomb


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