Atlanta restaurants, chefs among James Beard Award 2018 semifinalists

The James Beard Foundation has announced its list of semifinalists for 2018 awards, and metro Atlanta restaurants and chefs fared well, although there were several notable omissions.

The finalists will be announced March 14 in Philadelphia, and the winners will be announced May 7 in Chicago.

Among national awards, Brian So of Spring in Marietta and  Parnass Savang of pop-up Talat Market in Inman Park are among those chefs under the age of 30 nominated as Rising Star Chef, with So being a semifinalist in the category for a second time. Sarah O’Brien of Little Tart was nominated again in the Outstanding Baker category.

In the Best Chef: Southeast category, Ri Liu of Masterpiece in Duluth was  nominated for the second time , along with Atsushi Hayakawa of Sushi Hayakawa and return nominees Ryan Smith of Staplehouse and Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani in Asheville and Decatur (as well as Botiwalla in Ponce City Market). Noticeably absent from the category is Kevin Gillespie, a previous finalist. Steven Satterfield, who won in the category last year, isn't eligible to be nominated in the category again for five years (though he's eligible to be nominated in other categories).

Mashama Bailey of The Grey in Savannah and Matthew Raiford of The Farmer & The Larder in Brunswick also got nods in the Best Chef: Southeast category.

Chef and restaurateur Hugh Acheson was recognized in the Outstanding Chef category for his restaurant Five & Ten in Athens (he also has several projects in metro Atlanta).

Other semifinalists with Georgia ties include former One Flew South chef Duane Nutter's Mobile, Ala. restaurant Southern National, which was nominated for Best New Restaurant and Steve Palmer, who was nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur and whose Charleston, S.C.-based Indigo Road hospitality group also includes Atlanta restaurants O-Ku , Oak Steakhouse and Colletta in Avalon and Donetto in West Midtown .


The Georgia semifinalists include:


Outstanding Baker

Sarah O’Brien, Little Tart Bakeshop, Atlanta


Outstanding Bar Program

Kimball House, Decatur


Outstanding Wine Program

Miller Union


Rising Star Chef of the Year

Parnass Savang, Talat Market, Atlanta

Brian So, Spring, Marietta


Best Chef: Southeast

Atsushi Hayakawa, Sushi House Hayakawa, Atlanta

Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani, Decatur and Asheville, N.C.

Ryan Smith, Staplehouse, Atlanta

Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah

Rui Liu, Masterpiece, Duluth

Matthew Raiford, The Farmer & The Larder, Brunswick


Outstanding Chef

Hugh Acheson, Five & Ten, Athens


Outstanding Restaurateur

Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road (Oak Steakhouse, O-Ku, Colletta, Donetto)



A complete list of 2018 semifinalists is online at



Steven Satterfield wins 2017 James Beard Award

Atlanta finalists come up short at 2016 James Beard gala

Atlanta writers win big at the James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards


More on Staplehouse and Ryan Smith:

Inside the mind of Chef Ryan Smith

Bon Appetit names Staplehouse America’s Best New Restaurant

The best cocktails at Staplehouse

Review: To Staplehouse, with gratitude

How to make a delicious cocktail from Staplehouse

Staplehouse now offering brunch


Read more stories like this by  liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook , following  @ATLDiningNews on Twitter  and  @ajcdining on Instagram

Reader Comments

Next Up in Atlanta Restaurant Scene

Puff pastry caps creamy mushroom soup
Puff pastry caps creamy mushroom soup

From the menu of … Chicago’s Steak and Seafood, 4401 Shallowford Road, Roswell; 770-993-7464. My husband and I love the mushroom soup at Chicago’s on Shallowford. We would really like to make it at home for company because it’s so unique and delicious with the puff pastry top. We would be very grateful...
Atlanta chefs’ international holiday recipes
Atlanta chefs’ international holiday recipes

The traditional American Christmas dinner calls for a table laden with turkey or ham and all the trimmings, from stuffing, potatoes and gravy to casseroles and cranberry sauce. But American immigrants have always introduced international flavors into the mix, brightening the holidays with dishes from around the world. To celebrate this year, we asked...
Take a load off at some Atlanta's best hotel bars 
Take a load off at some Atlanta's best hotel bars 

There's something special, something iconic, something romantic about hotel bars. Perhaps it's the feeling of exclusivity or maybe it's being treated like a guest − whether you’ve reserved a room or not. Maybe it's the allure of people from all over the country (and perhaps world) coming together inside the city’s finest inns to toast...
Jingle Ball at Krog Street Market, photos with Santa and more in metro Atlanta this week
Jingle Ball at Krog Street Market, photos with Santa and more in metro Atlanta this week

Families can enjoy everything from free cookie decorating to photos with Santa this week. Put on your ugliest Christmas sweater and win a prize. There are several fun, food events happening in metro Atlanta, so add one or all four of the following activities to your calendar. Be prepared to eat, drink and be merry.    Now through Dec. 16...
Try something new with an Australian specialty from this Atlanta eatery
Try something new with an Australian specialty from this Atlanta eatery

What the whitetail deer is to the American South, the kangaroo is to Australia. Despite the fact that they’re both relatively large animals that appear exotic from afar, they’re very common in their native regions. In some areas, they’ve become so common that they’re almost considered pests. Local government often encourages...
More Stories