The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2024 Restaurant and Chef Awards and Central Florida has three nominees for Best Chef – South (from two restaurants) and a nod for Best New Restaurant.
Kaya, the Filipino restaurant in the Mills 50 District, is on the list of 30 restaurants throughout the country nominated for Best New Restaurant. It is the only semifinalist from Florida in that category. Kaya is co-owned by Jamilyn Bailey and Lordfer Lalicon.
Their former partners at Kadence, the omakase restaurant, Jennifer Berdin and Mark Berdin, are nominated together for Best Chef – South. Florida competes in that category with chefs from Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and New Orleans, I mean Louisiana. The Berdins are not the first local chefs to be co-nominated; James and Julie Petrakis of Ravenous Pig were semifinalists multiple years.
Henry Moso of Kabooki Sushi is also once again nominated in the Best Chef category. Moso made local history last year when he became the first Central Florida chef to advance to the finals.
This year the finalists will be announced on April 3; the awards will be given in a ceremony at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on June 10.