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Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

DC Restaurants and Chefs Win 3 James Beard Awards

By meerna Jun11,2024

After recently receiving the highest number of finalist nominations, DC is now home to two more winners in the Outstanding Chef category of the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards. Michael Rafidi accepted the Outstanding Chef award for Michelin-starred Levantine restaurant Albi, beloved by The Post food critic Tom Sietsema for its pita bread, baba ganoush and steamed manti, among many other dishes.

Palestinian-American chef Rafidi, who dedicated the award to the Palestinian people, also owns Yellow, a Georgetown café and restaurant that recently announced plans to open a Union Market location later this year. The medal was presented to him by 2023 Outstanding Chef of the Year Rob Rubba of DC’s favorite plant-based dish Oyster Oyster.

Washington-area restaurants won two more awards at this year’s Beard Awards, held Monday at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. These awards are among the highest honors that chefs, restaurants and their operators can receive nationally and recognize excellence in cuisine and restaurant operation. Cookbooks, literature and food journalism are also awarded.

Masako Morishita of the storied and colorful Japanese fusion venue Adams Morgan Perry’s opened the evening with the Best Emerging Chef award, one of the event’s most prestigious awards. Morishita, a native of Kobe and the first Japanese woman to hold this position at Perry’s, emphasizes creativity in her cooking. “This is my wildest American dream come true,” she exclaimed as she accepted the medal, echoing The Post. “The cuisine I cook is Japanese comfort food, which has been overshadowed by other types of Japanese cuisine. I hope I made all the Japanese mothers proud of me.”

In another major victory, Harley Peet was named Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic Region. His restaurant Bas Rouge in Easton, Maryland, serves international fusion flavors including beef tataki with dried kimchi and grilled jalapeño-stuffed shrimp.

“It’s still sinking in,” he told The Post. “To bring (the award) home on the East Coast – to be the first to do it is special. We don’t have the luxury of an endless stream of customers. Our dining rooms are not always full. Hopefully this will help (East Coast).”

DC also took home honors in the media categories, announced Saturday: “The World Central Kitchen Cookbook” by José Andrés, his nonprofit World Central Kitchen and Sam Chapple-Sokol won the award for best international cookbook, given to books “focused on about the foods or culinary traditions of countries, regions, or communities outside the United States.”

Several other D.C.-area finalists were also honored with the award: Moon Rabbit’s Susan Bae and Kevin Tien, nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker and Outstanding Mid-Atlantic Chef, respectively; Mexican restaurant in Baltimore Clavel Mezcaleria, nominated for outstanding bar; Tail Up Goat, nominated for Outstanding Wine and Beverage Program; and Hollis Wells Silverman of Eastern Point Collective, nominated for best restaurateur.

By meerna

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