Chicago Has Four James Beard Award Finalists for 2024

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The James Beard Foundation released its list of finalists for 2024 on Wednesday, April 3, and Chicago restaurants and chefs secured four nominations. That number is just one fewer than last year’s total of five finalists, yet still feels vanishingly small for the third-largest city in the U.S. This list was winnowed down from a long list of semifinalists released in January.

Often described as the highest honor in the food world, the James Beard Foundation Awards will announce the winners at its annual gala on June 10 at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

Chicago’s tiny clutch of finalists is also a formidable one that casts an eye toward the future of the city’s hospitality scene, rather than the past. Sujan Sarkar of Indienne, Chicago’s only Michelin-starred Indian restaurant, remains in the running for Best Chef: Great Lakes. Sakar, also the opening chef at Rooh Chicago in West Loop, seems to have his hands in a million chicken balti pies as he recently unveiled Swadesi, a Chicago cafe featuring South Asian snacks. Also in contention for the same award is Jenner Tomaska of Michelin-starred Esmé in Lincoln Park, an avant-garde tasting menu spot where he and wife Katrina Bravo ride the line between restaurant and art gallery. Tomaska was previously nominated in 2016 and 2017 for the Rising Star Chef award (since renamed “Emerging Chef”) for his work at Alinea Group’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant Next.

Meanwhile, Anna Posey, pastry chef and co-owner of Michelin-starred Elske on West Loop’s Randolph Restaurant Row, has moved into the final round for the Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker category. She and her husband, chef David Posey, have garnered plenty of attention over the years for their contemporary, Scandinavian-style approach. Anna Posey was previously nominated for a Beard award in 2019. Lula Cafe, a lauded farm-to-table pioneer and pillar of Logan Square’s dining scene, has also snagged a spot among finalists for Outstanding Hospitality.

Head over to Eater for the full list of finalists nationwide. This year’s Chicago finalists are below.

(* denotes a repeated nominee from past years)

Outstanding Hospitality

*Lula Cafe

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

*Anna Posey, Elske

Best Chef: Great Lakes

Sujan Sarkar, Indienne, Chicago, IL

*Jenner Tomaska, Esmé, Chicago, IL

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards. Eater is partnering with the James Beard Foundation to livestream the awards in 2024. All editorial content is produced independently of the James Beard Foundation.


1350 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-1314 Visit Website


217 West Huron Street, , IL 60654 (312) 291-9427 Visit Website

Lula Cafe

2537 North Kedzie Boulevard, , IL 60647 (773) 489-9554 Visit Website

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