December 4, 2023


Food & Travel Enthusiast

The best chefs, restaurants in Iowa, according to James Beard Foundation

Chef Joe Tripp has five James Beard Foundation semifinalist nominations for Best Chef Midwest.

In the world of chefs and restaurants, the greatest recognition from peers comes from the James Beard Foundation, the New York-based organization that “celebrates and supports the people behind America’s food culture.” For more than 30 years, the nonprofit has honored chefs and restaurants in the United States.

Since the awards started in 1991, the so-called “Oscars of the food world,” have honored chefs who have gone on to become household names: Rick Bayless, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Silverton. In Iowa, about 18 chefs have had their names called for the semifinalist list, with a majority hailing from Des Moines.

What’s called the long list of semifinalists comes out in January, nominated by fans, regional panelists and other chefs. The organization divides the country into 12 regions, with Iowa in the Midwest competing against chefs in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. The JBF also has awards for Outstanding Restaurateur, Outstanding Pastry Chef, and the like.