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Uwishunu Article published on March 16, 2022

Congratulations to Philly's 2022 James Beard Award Nominees

The culinary authority was good to Philadelphia — again...

Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon from Kalaya Thai Kitchen, a nominee for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic Photo by Visit Philadelphia

Travel Responsibly: As the region recovers from COVID-19, safety guidelines have evolved at attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels. Advance tickets or reservations remain recommended or necessary at many spots. Your best bet: Check online or call ahead.

Four Philly chefs and restaurants are 2022 nominees for the prestigious James Beard Awards — a sign that Philadelphia’s dining scene remains one of the best in the country as the restaurant industry bounces back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restaurateur Ellen Yin, whose High Street Hospitality Group owns Philly standouts Fork, a.kitchen + bar and High Street Philly, received yet another nomination in the Outstanding Restaurateur category. 

In addition, three Philly chefs received nominations in the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category: Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya; Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa; and Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, Kalaya Thai Kitchen

Philadelphia’s 2022 nominees were selected from an impressive pool of semifinalists, which included 16 local chefs and restaurants.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 11, 2022.

In 2020 — the last time nominees were announced — five Philly chefs and restaurants received nominations, including Marc Vetri’s namesake Vetri Cucina and Rich Landau’s vegetarian and vegan haven Vedge

Find the complete list of Philadelphia’s 2022 nominees below — and stay tuned to see which Philly chefs and restaurants win later this year.

In the meantime, you can also check out our guide to Philadelphia’s James Beard Foundation-honored restaurants.

Note: Nominees are arranged in alphabetical order by last name.
01

Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

A previous nominee in the Rising Star Chef of the Year category, Jesse Ito is once again honored with a nomination as one of the best chefs in the mid-Atlantic region. Royal Izakaya in Queen Village has been a hit with diners and critics alike since opening in 2016. The unassuming spot is home to an extensive and inventive menu that features rarely served fish, traditional sushi rolls and a number of hot-food options.

Where: Royal Sushi & Izakaya, 780 S. 2nd Street

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02

Cristina Martínez, South Philly Barbacoa

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Chef Cristina Martínez receives her second nomination in the Best Chef Mid-Atlantic category, picking up where she left off in 2020. Before that, she had been named as a semifinalist in the category every year since 2017. Martínez serves tacos, tamales, consommé and more at South Philly Barbacoa, a colorful and flavorful Mexican hot spot in the Italian Market. In addition to her cooking accolades, Martínez is lauded in the community for her work with the city’s immigrant population.

Where: South Philly Barbacoa, 1140 S. 9th Street

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03

Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, Kalaya Thai Kitchen, Philadelphia

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Kalaya — Photo by R. Rabena for Visit Philadelphia

Kalaya Thai Kitchen was one of just a handful of restaurants to be nominated as one of the country’s best new restaurants in 2020 by the James Beard Foundation — the same year that Esquire named it the best restaurant in America. Now, chef-owner Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon is honored once again, this time as one of the best chefs in the Mid-Atlantic region. Since opening in 2019, Kalaya has been serving up authentic southern Thai recipes in Bella Vista to universal acclaim. Diners looking to recreate Kaylaya’s award-winning dishes at home (good luck!) can pick up ingredients at Kalaya Thai Market down the street.

Where: Kalaya Thai Kitchen, 764 S. 9th Street

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04

Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group

Outstanding Restaurateur: National

This is Ellen Yin’s third nomination (in addition to a 2017 semifinalist placement) in the Outstanding Restaurateur category — and for good reason. Yin’s High Street Hospitality Group owns Fork, a.kitchen + bar and High Street Philly — all Philly institutions in their own right. Fork has been a can’t-miss dinner and brunch spot in Old City since debuting in 1990. High Street Philly in Washington Square West has been recognized for its outstanding sandwiches and fresh pasta. And a.kitchen + bar inside the AKA Rittenhouse Square hotel pairs a seasonal rotating menu with an award-winning wine program. 

Where: Fork, 306 Market Street

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a.kitchen + bar, 135 S. 18th Street

High Street Philly, 101 S. 9th Street

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Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya
Cristina Martínez, South Philly Barbacoa
Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, Kalaya Thai Kitchen, Philadelphia
Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group
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