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Here Are Colorado’s 2024 James Beard Award Semifinalists

Thirteen of the state’s best chefs and restaurants received nods

Closeup on a silver medal featuring the face of James Beard. Around the edge of the medal, text reads “James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence.” James Beard Foundation
Nicole Adlman is a cities manager at Eater overseeing editorial operations for city sites in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Portland, Houston, Nashville, New Orleans, and Denver. She earned a master’s degree in multidisciplinary writing at the University of Southern California.

The results are in, and 13 Colorado-based chefs, restaurateurs, and restaurants received semifinalist nods for the 2024 James Beard Foundation Awards. The James Beard Awards are often considered one of the most prestigious honors in the food industry, and each year, chefs and restaurants who make the semifinalist round hope to progress to receive finalist nominations.

Denver and its surrounding cities saw many chefs receive semifinalist recognition, including Best Chef: Mountain semifinalists Diego Coconati and Erasmo Casiano of Lucina, whose menu crosses many Latin cuisines and genres; duo Aminata “Ami” Dia and Rougui Dia of modern bistro Le French; Bo Porytko of the experimental Eastern European restaurant Molotov Kitschen + Cocktails; and Penelope Wong of Park Hill dumpling destination Yuan Wonton. Kenneth Wan, of contemporary Cantonese restaurant MAKfam, is a semifinalist in the Emerging Chef category, which recognizes someone who is “likely to make a significant impact in years to come” while currently contributing meaningfully to their community. Carolyn Nugent and Alen Ramos of Parker, Colorado’s Poulette Bakeshop received recognition in the Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker category.

The Mile High City also received recognition in the Beard Foundation’s restaurant categories: Compact and compelling chef’s counter destination Beckon is a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant, while East Colfax Vietnamese stunner Sắp Sửa garnered a semifinalist nod for the Best New Restaurant category. Wine bar Sunday Vinyl was tapped as a semifinalist in the Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages category. In the Outstanding Restaurateur category, Kelly Whitaker of Boulder-based Id Est Hospitality group, whose lauded restaurants include the Wolf’s Tailor and BRUTØ, received a semifinalist nod.

Finalists will be announced on April 3, followed by an awards ceremony to reveal winners on June 10, 2024. Here are the James Beard 2024 semifinalists for Colorado:

Outstanding Restaurateur

  • Kelly Whitaker, Id Est Hospitality Group (The Wolf’s Tailor, BRUTØ, Basta, and others), Boulder, CO

Outstanding Chef

  • Barclay Dodge, Bosq, Aspen, CO

Outstanding Restaurant

  • Beckon, Denver, CO

Emerging Chef

  • Kenneth Wan, MAKfam, Denver, CO

Best New Restaurant

  • Sắp Sửa, Denver, CO

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

  • Carolyn Nugent and Alen Ramos, Poulette Bakeshop, Parker, CO

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

  • Sunday Vinyl, Denver, CO

Best Chef: Mountain (CO, ID, MT, UT, WY)

  • Theo Adley, Marigold, Lyons, CO
  • Diego Coconati and Erasmo Casiano, Lucina Eatery & Bar, Denver, CO
  • Aminata “Ami” Dia and Rougui Dia, Le French, Denver, CO
  • Bo Porytko, Molotov Kitschen + Cocktails, Denver, CO
  • Matt Vawter, Rootstalk, Breckenridge, CO
  • Penelope Wong, Yuan Wonton, Denver, CO

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards.