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Latino Finalists for the 2024 James Beard Awards

Latino Finalists for the 2024 James Beard Awards

Discover the ingenious culinary craft of Latino restauranteurs in our roundup of 2024 James Beard Awards finalists

Photo by New Africa on Adobe Stock
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In today’s world, where fostering understanding and connection is more crucial than ever, the James Beard Awards’ recognition of Latino and Hispanic finalists is particularly heartening. These culinary artists aren’t just shaping the future of the food and beverage industry, they’re champions of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the industry.

By sharing their unique heritages and innovative approaches to cuisine, these Latino culinary experts bridge cultural gaps and remind us that food is a powerful unifier. Their delicious creations not only tantalize our taste buds, but offer a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of flavors and traditions that Latino and Hispanic cultures bring to the table.

You can find the list of featured Latino finalists at the 2024 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards below. Winners will be announced on June 10, 2024, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.


Outstanding Restaurateur

Chris Viaud, a Top Chef alumnus, is the chef and owner of Greenleaf, Ansanm, and Pavilion, located in Milford and Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. His contemporary American culinary style reflects his diverse inspirations and childhood memories of grinding herbs and spices for family dinners. Viaud’s dedication to the exploration of Haitian cuisine and culture is noteworthy, as he seeks to introduce and educate communities about its beauty.

Outstanding Chef presented by Hilton

Reneé Touponce is the chef and owner The Port of Call in Mystic, Connecticut. Her multicultural background, blending Italian and Puerto Rican influences, shapes her inventive, locally sourced cuisine. She also pays homage to New England’s rich coastal heritage and the flavors of her youth. While a passion for whole animal butchery and charcuterie, Touponce pushes for zero waste and sustainability. As a queer woman, she champions equality in her kitchens, creating healthy, equal, and safe environments while serving innovative and thoughtful food.

Emerging Chef presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water

Janet Becerra is the creative force behind Pancita, a modern Mexican concept that celebrates her Hispanic heritage. Beginning as a pop-up in 2020, Pancita evolved under Becerra’s leadership, offering innovative takes on traditional dishes while preserving authentic Mexican culinary techniques. Through Pancita, she aims to reconnect with her roots and share the richness of Mexican cuisine with the Latinx community and beyond.

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Janet Becerra (@yani_se) • Instagram photos and videos

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

Manuel and Jesús Brazón, a Venezuelan father-son duo, are making a significant impact on Miami’s culinary scene since opening their bakery, Caracas Bakery, drawing long lines with their artisan Venezuelan-French inspired bread and pastries.

Their journey, from fleeing Venezuela to achieving a James Beard award nomination, reflects their passion for baking and their commitment to preserving and sharing their Latino heritage through food.

Best Chef: California

Mexican Chef Rogelio Garcia

Restaurant: Auro, located in Calistoga, California

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)

Colombian Chef Jose Salazar

Restaurant: Mita’s, located in Cincinnati

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)

Mexican Chef Maria Meza

Restaurant: Dolores, located in Providence, Rhode Island

Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific (AK, HI, OR, WA)

Haitian Chef Gregory Gourdet

Restaurant: kann, located in Portland, Oregon

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

Peruvian Chinese Chef Valerie Chang

Restaurant: Maty’s, located in Miami

Mexican Ecuadorian Chef Gabriel Hernandez

Restaurant: Verde Mesa, located in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Boricua Chef Carlos Portela

Restaurant: Orujo, located in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK)

Mexican Chef Rene Andrade

Restaurant: Bacanora, located in Phoenix

Guatemalan Chef Steve Kestler

Restaurant: Aroma Latin American Cocina, located in Henderson, Nevada

Mexican Chef Eduardo Rodriguez

Restaurant: Zacatlán, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Best Chef: Texas

Mexican Chef Emmanuel Chavez

Restaurant: Tatemó, located in Houston

Mexican Chef Ana Liz Pulido

Restaurant: Ana Liz Taqueria, located in Mission, Texas


Outstanding Restaurant presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water

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Mixtli (@mixtlicloud) • Instagram photos and videos

Mixtli, San Antonio, TX

Offers modern progressive Mexican cuisine.

Best New Restaurant

Oro by Nixta, Minneapolis, MN

Offers Mexican fare.

Outstanding Bakery

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Gusto Bread (@gustobread) • Instagram photos and videos

Gusto Bread, Long Beach, CA

Pulls from Spanish influences.

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

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Tail Up Goat (@tailupgoat) • Instagram photos and videos

Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.

Serves Caribbean-inspired drinks.

Outstanding Bar

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CLAVEL (@bar_clavel) • Instagram photos and videos

Clavel Mezcaleria, Baltimore, MD

Serves Mexican-inspired cocktails.

Las Ramblas, Brownsville, TX

Pulls from Barcelona (Spanish) influence.


The 2024 Humanitarian of the Year Award honoree is The LEE Initiative, an organization that promotes diversity, equity, and empowerment for employees within the restaurant industry.

The 2024 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards serve as a vibrant testament to the growing influence and contributions of Latino and Hispanic culinary professionals in shaping the American food landscape. These finalists, representing a diverse array of backgrounds and culinary traditions, not only excel in their craft but also champion the values of DEI. Their innovative approaches to cuisine not only tantalize our palates but also foster cultural understanding and bridge communities.

As we await the winners announcement, it is clear that Latino chefs and restaurateurs are not merely making their mark; they are redefining what it means to be at the forefront of culinary excellence in America.

This article was written with the assistance of AI.

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