Though this year’s James Beard Awards honored a hearty list of well-deserved winners, including the Best Chef medal for Houston chef Benchawan Jabthong Painter, who took home Best Chefs: Texas, our Dallas and Fort Worth restaurants went home from the ceremony empty-handed. Well, kind of.
Michelle Carpenter of Restaurant Beatrice, whose place was on the list for Best New Restaurant, finally got to meet fellow DFW chef Tiffany Derry. We’re surprised to hear they hadn’t crossed paths yet, since Derry hailed the team at Beatrice as one of the restaurants that gave back to the community in 2022.
“Is this the photo y’all have been waiting for? Michelle had to fly to Chicago to get finally meet @mastercheftd in person,” the caption reads.
And another highlight for Carpenter was meeting fellow finalist Niki Nakayama, chef and the owner of Michelin-starred n/naka restaurant in Los Angeles, pictured here with her wife, Carole Rika Iida. “3 of the 6 female sushi chef/owners in the entire world were in the same building at one time,” the caption reads in part, calling the chance to meet her a “stellar consolation prize.”
Best Chefs: Texas nominee Reyna Duong of Sandwich Hag also shared a preview of her look for the ceremony and that her plus one for the evening was “bestie and brother em Sang.”
And Maricsa Trejo of La Casita Bakeshop posted a shot of the stage as the awards began. “We are here at the Mother Bleeping James Beard Awards and it’s the Cinderella moment of my life,” she captioned it and, following a few other observations, added: “Richardson Texas, thank you for being an amazing supporter of us. Texas thank you for being the state of going BIG or GOING HOME!” And she encourages customers to come in this weekend and ask about the awards.
Finally, Stephanie Leichtle-Chalklen of Kuluntu Bakery shared an exhilarated shot from the streets of Chicago to main. At the same time, the bakery’s stories included a behind the scenes look at a chef advocacy meetup she attended. “Feeling all the feels today, but mostly immense gratitude to be here, connecting with others and learning how to build a better food system,” she captioned the photo.
Congratulations are still in order to all the restaurants, chefs, and bakeries that were nominated this year, which also include Lucia in Bishop Arts and Don Artemio in Fort Worth.