DC Restaurants and Chefs Win 3 James Beard Awards

After receiving the highest number of finalist nominations in recent memory, DC is now home to two back-to-back winners in the Best Chef category at the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards. Michael Rafidi won Best Chef for his Michelin-starred Levantine restaurant Albi, loved by The Post’s food critic Tom Sietsema for several dishes such as pita bread, baba ganosh and steamed manti.

Rafidi, a Palestinian American chef who dedicated the award to the Palestinian people, owns Yellow, a cafe and restaurant in Georgetown that recently announced it will open a Union Market location later this year. He was presented with his medal by 2023 chef Rob Ruppa of plant-based DC favorite Oyster Chippy.

Washington, D.C.-area restaurants took home two more awards at this year’s Beard Awards held Monday at Chicago’s Lyric Opera. These awards are among the highest accolades that chefs, restaurants and their operators can receive nationally and recognize excellence in kitchen and restaurant operations. Awards are also presented for cookbooks, literature and food journalism.

Masako Morishita of the storied and colorful Adams Morgan Japanese fusion spot opened Perry’s night with one of the event’s most prestigious awards, the Best Emerging Chef Award. Morishita, originally from Kobe and the first Japanese woman to play Perry, emphasizes creativity in her cooking. “This is my worst American dream come true,” he exclaimed as he accepted the medal, and repeated to The Post. “The food I cook is Japanese comfort food, which is overshadowed by other types of Japanese cuisine. I hope I have made all Japanese mothers proud.

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In another big win, Harley Pete won Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic Region. His restaurant, Bas Rouge in Easton, Md., offers international fusion flavors including beef tataki and grilled shrimp stuffed with dehydrated kimchi and jalapeños.

“It’s still sinking in,” he told The Post. “bring it [the award] Home to the East Coast – doing it first is pretty special. We don’t have the luxury of endless customers. Our dining rooms are never full. So, I hope that helps [the Eastern Shore].”

DC took an honor in the media categories, announcing Saturday: “The World Central Kitchen Cookbook” by José Andrés, his nonprofit World Central Kitchen, and Sam Chapple-Sokol won the award for best international cookbook. on the food or culinary traditions of countries, regions, or communities outside the United States.”

Several finalists from the DC area were honored at the awards: Susan Bay and Kevin Dean of Moon Rabbit were nominated for Best Pastry Chef or Baker and Best Chef Mid-Atlantic, respectively; Baltimore Mexican Restaurant Clavel Mescaleria, nominated for Best Bar; Tail Up Goat, nominated for Best Wine and Other Beverage Programs; and Eastern Point Collective’s Hollis Wells Silverman was nominated for Best Restaurant.

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