The James Beard Foundation just released its list of finalist nominees for its 2022 awards, and one Nashville chef and bar made the cut. Widely considered the “Oscars” equivalent in the food world, 2022 marks the return of the annual awards after ceremonies were canceled in 2020 and 2021 amid the pandemic.
Chef Philip Krajeck secured a finalist nomination for Best Chef: Southeast for his work at industrial-chic Rolf and Daughters, widely considered a Nashville beacon for haute American cuisine since its Buena Vista debut in 2013. Two previously announced chef semifinalists in the same regional category — Jake Howell (Peninsula) and Mailea Weger (Lou) — did not advance this year.
Meanwhile, the five-year-old East Nashville outpost of essential cocktail destination Attaboy is up for outstanding bar program. The no-menu drinking den reopened in late 2020 after its building and team suffered unspeakable tragedy and loss from the tornado earlier that year. Attaboy will compete for the category with four other bars around the country, including barmini by José Andrés in D.C. and Nobody’s Darling in Chicago.
Winners will be announced at a Chicago gala on Monday, June 13 — marking the first time the “Oscars” of food awards have been held since 2019. Last year, the foundation conducted an extensive audit attempting to make the awards process more accessible, equitable, and transparent going forward. The audit followed years of accusations of racism and sexism and scandals surrounding bad actors in the restaurant industry who were subsequently nominated for awards by the foundation.
Below is the complete list of the Nashville finalists.
Outstanding Bar Program
- Attaboy, Nashville
Best Chef: Southeast
- Philip Krajeck, Rolf and Daughters, Nashville
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.