ST. LOUIS — One St. Louis chef and two restaurants were named Wednesday as semifinalists for the 2023 James Beard Awards, the culinary world's top prize. The announcement came Wednesday from the James Beard Foundation.
Rob Connoley snagged a nomination for best chef in the Midwest region. Connoley is the chef-owner of Bulrush, which serves modern "Ozark cuisine." The restaurant opened its doors in 2019 and is located on Washington Avenue in Midtown. Bulrush faced several staffing shortages during the pandemic, but it opened a bar back in June.
Over in the Tower Grove neighborhood, La Pâtisserie Choquette was named a semifinalist in the Outstanding Bakery category. The bakery offers chic French pastries including macaroons, decorated cakes and other goodies.
Last but not least, The Gin Room was named a semifinalist in the Outstanding Bar category. According to its website, founder Natasha Bahrami, also known as “The Gin Girl," returned to St Louis from Washington D.C. with a very specific passion project in mind. She wanted to open the ultimate house of gin, creating what became known as “The Gin Room." Now, the bar serves over 300 different variations of gin and includes creative cocktails and martinis.
Restaurant and Chef Award nominees will be announced on March 29.
The James Beard Awards has a variety of categories ranging from Outstanding Restaurateur, Oustanding Chef and Oustanding Hospitality. This year, the foundation added new categories such as Emerging Chef and Best New Restaurant.
According to their website, The James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards was established in 1990 and first awarded in 1991. The awards help recognize talent and achievement in the culinary arts. The awards honor James Beard, who was an American chef and culinary expert who focused on American and English dishes and became the first chef to demonstrate cooking on national television.
To check out the full list of semifinalists, click here.