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Timon Balloo and Michael Beltran Are 2020 James Beard Award Semifinalists

Timon Balloo is a 2020 James Beard Award semifinalist.
Timon Balloo is a 2020 James Beard Award semifinalist.
Photo by Michael Pissari

The James Beard Foundation recently announced its semifinalists in the restaurant and chef categories for 2020, and South Florida has several reasons to be proud.

Nine local chefs and establishments have been recognized for exemplary achievement in the culinary field in four categories.

This year, six of South Florida's best toques have been named semifinalists in the category Best Chef: South. Awards for Best Chef are divided regionally; Best Chef: South encompasses Alabama, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

In addition, the James Beard Foundation gives nods to rising stars, beloved pastry chefs, and iconic Miami eateries.

Check out the full list of South Florida semifinalists:

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, Puerto Rico, FL, LA, MS)

  • 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 Indian Kitchen, Miami

Outstanding Pastry Chef

  • Antonio Bachour - Bachour, Coral Gables

Outstanding Restaurant

  • Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami

Rising Star Chef of the Year

  • Valerie Chang - Itamae, Miami

This announcement marks the beginning of a long road to winning a coveted James Beard Award. The yearly process begins in mid-October when the James Beard Foundation holds an online open call for entries. The Beard Foundation's restaurant-and-chef committee reviews the entries, along with input solicited from an independent volunteer group of more than 250 judges across the nation, to determine eligibility and regional representation and then produces a ballot. A group of 600 judges — comprising regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Award winners — then votes on the nominees.

The judges will whittle down this year's semifinalist list, and the finalists will be announced Wednesday, March 25, in Philadelphia at the Barnes Foundation.

The winners will be announced Monday, May 4, at the annual awards gala and reception at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. For the full list of semifinalists, visit jamesbeard.org.

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