Henry Moso of Kabooki Sushi has been named a semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation Award as a Rising Star Chef of the Year. The category honors exceptional chefs under the age of 30.
Moso, 29, is the only Central Florida chef to be nominated in any category.
Twenty-nine young chefs are on the list of Rising Star semifinalists, which will be pared to five names in an announcement on March 25. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Chicago on May 4.
Six chefs from five South Florida restaurants were among the list of 20 nominated for Best Chef: South, a region that also includes Alabama, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, Mississippi and Louisiana, or more precisely, New Orleans.
Representing the Sunshine State are:
Lindsay Autry, The Regional Kitchen & Public House, West Palm Beach
Timon Balloo, Balloo Restaurant, Miami
Michael Beltran, Ariete, Coconut Grove
Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, Boia De, Miami
Niven Patel, Ghee, Miami
This is the third year in a row that Central Florida chefs have been shut out of the Best Chef category. Last year, four area chefs and restaurants were semifinalists in national categories, including Outstanding Restaurant (Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton, which is no longer at the Ritz-Carlton); Outstanding Restaurateur (James and Julie Petrakis, Ravenous Pig); Outstanding Pastry Chef (Rabii Saber of the Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World Resort); and Outstanding Service (Victoria & Albert’s). None advanced to the finals.
The Beard Foundation Awards are voted on by restaurant critics, food journalists and other industry professionals. I ended my affiliation with the organization last year with this article.
You can see the full list of semifinalists at the Beard Foundation’s website.