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New Hampshire chefs, restaurants named James Beard semifinalists


The 2023 James Beard Restaurant and Chefs Award ceremony. This year’s will be held on June 10 in Chicago. There are three New Hampshire semifinalists, which were announced Wednesday. Photo/Nikki Allen

Three nominees from New Hampshire are among those announced as semifinalists for the James Beard Restaurant and Chefs Award, one of the culinary world’s most prestigious honors.

The James Beard Foundation released the 2024 semifinalist list Wednesday. Final nominees will be announced on Wednesday, April 3, with winners announced at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 10, in Chicago.

“The James Beard Awards honor those who are creating exceptional food, food media content, and better food systems, while demonstrating a commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive,” the foundation said in its announcement.

New Hampshire semifinalists are:

Chris Viaud

Chris Viaud, of Greenleaf, Ansanm, and Pavilion in WolfeboroOutstanding Restaurateur, which recognizes a restaurateur who uses their establishment as a vehicle for building community, demonstrates creativity in entrepreneurship and integrity in restaurant operations, and is making efforts to create a sustainable work culture while contributing positively to their broader community.

Christina Zontini

Kristina Zontini, of Super Secret Ice Cream, BethlehemOutstanding Pastry Chef or Baker, which recognizes a pastry chef or baker who makes desserts, pastries, or breads, and demonstrates exceptional skills, as well as contributes positively to their broader community. 

Lee Frank

Lee Frank, of Otis Restaurant, ExeterBest Chef Northeast (New England), which recognizes chefs who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities and who are making efforts to help create a sustainable work culture in their respective regions, while contributing positively to their broader community.   

The awards recognize “the outstandingly talented leaders making their mark on American food,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “As we’ve heard time and again from honorees, receiving this recognition has the potential to be truly transformative — and so, the Awards remain a vital platform for supporting and elevating the independent restaurant industry as a whole.”

The James Beard Restaurant and Chef Award, first presented in 1991, recognizes“a range of experiences, from fine-dining establishments to casual gems, and emerging talents to established luminaries,” the foundation said. It is one of five separate recognition programs of the James Beard Awards. 

New England semifinalists are:

Outstanding Restaurateur: Chris Viaud, of Greenleaf, Ansanm, and Pavilion in Wolfeboro; Cara Stadler and Cecile Stadler, BaoBao Dumpling House, Tao Yuan Restaurant, and ZaoZe Cafe & Market, Portland, Maine.

Outstanding Chef: Renee Touponce, The Port of Call, Mystic, Conn.

Emerging Chef: Joe Robbins, Bissell Brothers Three Rivers Kitchen, Milo, Maine.

Best New Restaurant: The Alna Store, Alna, Maine; Comfort Kitchen, Dorchester, Mass.; Tuxpan Taqueria, Central Falls, R.I.

Outstanding Bakery: ZU Bakery, Portland.

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker: Kristina Zontini, of Super Secret Ice Cream, Bethlehem; Atsuko Fujimoto, Norimoto Bakery, Portland.

Outstanding Hospitality: Woodford Food & Beverage, Portland.

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program: haley.henry wine bar, Boston, Mass.; Rebel Rebel, Somerville, Mass.

Outstanding Bar: Barr Hill Cocktail Bar, Montpelier, Vt.

Best Chef, Northeast: Lee Frank, Otis Restaurant, Exeter; Celia Bruns, Artemisia Cafe, Portland; Peter Carvelli, Foglia, Bristol, R.I.; Tracy Chang, Pagu, Cambridge, Mass.; Cara Chigazola Tobin, Honey Road, Burlington, Vt.;  John daSilva, Chickadee, Boston; Conor Dennehy, Tallula, Cambridge; Subat Dilmurat, Jahunger, Providence, R.I.; Ian Driscoll, Bar Futo, Portland; Patricia Estorino, Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar, Cambridge; Valerie Goldman, The Honey Paw, Portland; Cecelia Lizotte, Suya Joint, Boston; Laurence Louie, Rubato, Quincy, Mass.; Maria Meza, Dolores, Providence, R.I.; Rachel Miller, Nightshade Noodle Bar, Lynn, Mass.; David Standridge, The Shipwright’s Daughter, Mystic, Conn.; Jake Stevens, Leeward, Portland; Micah Tavelli, Paradiso Hi-Fi, Burlington, Vt.; Andy Teixeira, Newport Vineyards, Middletown, R.I.; Basil Yu, Yagi Noodles, Newport, R.I.


About this Contributor

Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is a contract reporter and content producer for consumer financial agencies. She has worked for northern New England publications, including the New Hampshire Union Leader, for 25 years, and most recently at Mainebiz in Portland, Maine. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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