Niche’s Gerard Craft wins title, “Best chef in the Midwest”

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What makes a restaurant the hottest destination in town?

Glowing Yelp reviews, Instagram-worthy presentation and high praise from critics and food bloggers go a long way. But among chefs and restaurateurs, nothing says you’ve made it like a James Beard Award.

Since 1990, the not-for-profit James Beard Foundation, named after “the father of American cuisine,” has been honoring outstanding names in the food and beverage industry. There is no cash reward, but a win — or even a nomination — can substantially increase the buzz for business.

Chef and restaurant winners are being announced Monday night at Lyric Opera in Chicago. Here are some of the winners and honorees; we’ll be updating them throughout the evening:

Best New Restaurant

Winner: Bâtard (New York City)

Central Provisions (Portland, Maine)

Cosme (New York City)

Parachute (Chicago)

Petit Trois (Los Angeles)

The Progress (San Francisco)

Spoon and Stable (Minneapolis)

Outstanding Bar Program

Arnaud’s French 75 Bar (New Orleans)

Bar Agricole (San Francisco)

Maison Premiere (Brooklyn, NY

Trick Dog (San Francisco)

Winner: The Violet Hour (Chicago)

Outstanding Chef

Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC

Sean Brock, Husk, Charleston, SC

Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles

Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

Marc Vetri, Vetri, Philadelphia

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Dana Cree, Blackbird (Chicago)

Maura Kilpatrick, Oleana (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Dahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles

Ghaya Oliveira, Daniel (New York City)

Winner: Christina Tosi, Momofuku, (New York City)

Outstanding Restaurant

Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, New York)

Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, Alabama

Momofuku Noodle Bar, (New York City)

Per Se (New York City)

The Spotted Pig (New York City)

Outstanding Service

Winner: The Barn at Blackberry Farm (Walland, Tennessee)

Marea (New York City)

Quince (San Francisco)

Restaurant August (New Orleans)

Topolobampo (Chicago)

Outstanding Wine Program

Winner: A16 (San Francisco)

Bern’s Steak House (Tampa, Florida)

FIG (Charleston, South Carolina)

McCrady’s (Charleston, South Carolina)

Spago (Beverly Hills)

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Tanya Baker, Boarding House (Chicago)

Alex Bois, High Street on Market (Philadelphia)

Erik Bruner-Yang, Toki Underground (Washington, D.C.)

Winner: Jessica Largey, Manresa (Los Gatos, California)

Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan (Brunswick, Maine)

Ari Taymor, Alma (Los Angeles)

Best Chef: Great Lakes

Curtis Duffy, Grace (Chicago)

Winner: Jonathon Sawyer, Greenhouse Tavern (Cleveland, Ohio)

Paul Virant, Vie (Western Springs, Illinois)

Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria (Chicago)

Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia (Chicago)

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Joe Cicala, Le Virtù (Philadelphia)

Winner: Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen (Baltimore, Maryland)

Rich Landau, Vedge (Philadelphia)

Greg Vernick, Vernick Food & Drink (Philadelphia)

Cindy Wolf, Charleston (Baltimore, Maryland)

Best Chef: Midwest

Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer (Minneapolis)

Justin Carlisle, Ardent (Milwaukee)

Winner: Gerard Craft, Niche (Clayton, Missouri)

Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart (Minneapolis)

Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market (St. Paul, Minnesota)

Best Chef: Northeast

Karen Akunowicz, Myers + Chang (Boston)

Winner: Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Masa Miyake, Miyake (Portland, Maine)

Cassie Piuma, Sarma (Somerville, Massachusetts)

Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, Maine)

Best Chef: Northwest

Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox (Portland, Oregon)

Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins (Seattle)

Winner: Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island (Lummi Island, Washington)

Justin Woodward, Castagna (Portland, Oregon)

Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule (Seattle)

Best Chef: New York City

Marco Canora, Hearth

Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, Carbone

Winner: Mark Ladner, Del Posto

Anita Lo, Annisa

Ignacio Mattos, Estela

Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto

Best Chef: South

Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar (Oxford, Mississippi)

Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery (New Orleans)

Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Slade Rushing, Brennan’s (New Orleans)

Winner: Alon Shaya, Domenica (New Orleans)

Best Chef: Southeast

John Fleer, Rhubarb (Asheville, North Carolina)

Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia (Louisville, Kentucky)

Steven Satterfield, Miller Union (Atlanta)

Winner: Jason Stanhope, FIG (Charleston, South Carolina)

Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen (Memphis)

Tandy Wilson, City House (Nashville)

Best Chef: Southwest

Kevin Binkley, Binkley’s (Cave Creek, Arizona)

Winner: Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue (Austin)

Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine (Austin)

Hugo Ortega, Hugo’s (Houston)

Martín Rios, Restaurant Martín (Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Justin Yu, Oxheart (Houston)

Best Chef: West

Matthew Accarrino, SPQR (San Francisco)

Winner: Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, State Bird Provisions (San Francisco)

Michael Cimarusti, Providence (Los Angeles)

Corey Lee, Benu (San Francisco)

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal (Los Angeles)

By Emanuella Grinberg