The Entry and recommendation period for the 2023 James Beard Awards® is officially open until Wednesday, November 30 at 11:59 P.M. ET. The mission of the James Beard Awards is to recognize exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive. For more than 30 years, the annual James Beard Awards have provided national acclaim and recognition of restaurants, food and beverage professionals, authors, journalists, broadcast media, and others in the food ecosystem.
The 2023 Awards ceremonies will be held in Chicago on the following dates:
- Media Awards: Saturday, June 3, 2023
- Leadership Awards: Sunday, June 4, 2023
- Restaurant and Chef Awards: Monday, June 5, 2023
“We are thrilled to kick off the 2023 Awards season with the Open Call for Entries and Recommendations,” said Dawn Padmore, Vice President of Awards, James Beard Foundation. “We encourage writers, journalists, content creators, chefs, restaurateurs, operators, and those working in the wider hospitality industry to throw their hats in the ring for consideration. We are excited to celebrate excellence, as well as a commitment to creating a more sustainable culture. Additionally, we want people to know that they are welcome to submit recommendations for the Restaurant and Chef and Leadership Awards, even if they’re not a member of the industry.”
“We are so proud of what we achieved with this year’s Awards and look forward to continuing the momentum in 2023,” said Tanya Holland, Chair of the James Beard Awards Committee. “With a cycle of learnings under our belt—and with an ongoing commitment to make the Awards process as fair, inclusive, and representative as possible—we are excited to announce new changes that will only improve on what we accomplished in 2022. We look forward to sharing further announcements, including this year’s theme, in early 2023.”
The James Beard Foundation Awards consist of five separate recognition programs and two achievement awards: Media Awards (Book, Broadcast Media, and Journalism); Restaurant and Chef Awards; Leadership Awards; Lifetime Achievement; and Humanitarian of the Year Awards.
- The deadline for submitting entries (Media Awards) and recommendations (Restaurant and Chef Awards and Leadership Awards) is Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 11:59 P.M. ET.
- Physical book copies must arrive at the warehouse for review by Tuesday, December 6, 2022.
- Submitting a recommendation for the Leadership or Restaurant and Chef Awards is free.
The Media Awards (Book, Broadcast Media, and Journalism) conduct Open Call for Entries that require an entry fee of $75 per entry. At any time during the entire call for entry, Media Awards entrants who state a financial need may have the fee waived.
Every year, the Award subcommittees may make changes or additions to categories, in order to reflect and capture current trends in the industry. Highlights of changes to the 2023 James Beard Awards categories are as follows:
- The Writing category is now Literary Writing and includes narrative nonfiction books, including memoirs, culinary tourism, investigative journalism, food advocacy, and critical analysis of food and foodways for a general audience. Includes memoir, biography, personal essays, culinary travel, and culture—no more than 20 percent recipes.
- A Food Issues and Advocacy category has been added and includes investigative journalism, food policy, deep dives, and critical analysis of the changing social landscape.
- Baking and Desserts has been redefined as books with recipes focused on the art and craft of baking, pastries, and desserts, both sweet and savory items, including ingredients, techniques, equipment, and traditions.
- A Bread category has been added to include books with recipes focused on the art and craft of making bread, including ingredients, techniques, equipment, and traditions.
The Personal Essay, Long Form and Personal Essay, Short Form have been updated to:
- Personal Essay with Recipes that recognizes excellence in an essay on any food and/or drink-related topic with recipes. An entry consists of one piece that demonstrates a distinctive voice, point of view, and style.
- Personal Essay without Recipes that recognizes excellence in an essay on any food and/or drink-related topic without recipes. An entry consists of one piece that demonstrates a distinctive voice, point of view, and style.
- The Beverage category has been added and recognizes distinctive style, thorough knowledge, plainspoken prose, and innovative approach in a single article on alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.
For the first time in the program’s history, the Leadership Awards will feature four categories, with one winner per category. In an effort to focus on areas of advocacy work, the following new categories will be presented:
- The Sustainable Foodways category was created as more communities around the planet face food scarcity amid climate crises; this work is becoming increasingly essential. Candidates in this category are innovating more ways to eat with smaller carbon footprints, giving food waste new life, and finding workable solutions to pressing issues like oceanic depletion and water scarcity.
- The Food Security and Access category is for candidates who are deeply invested in connecting their communities with stable, and dignified, sources of food. That work could include feeding people experiencing chronic hunger; giving a neighborhood the means to cultivate its own food; or researching ancestral food preservation methods, among other examples.
- The Education and Awareness category highlights the hows and whys of what we eat. Candidates may be out in the field, teaching the next generation of farmers how to make a life through agriculture. Or they may be working within academia, uncovering new facets of old foodways or digging into once-ignored corners of the food world.
- Labor and Worker Equity is for candidates who have made workers’ rights the lynchpin of their work—whether it is through activism, labor organizing, or policymaking. Some of those efforts might look like advocating for the human rights of undocumented farm workers, providing community mental health care for restaurant staff, or publishing investigative journalism on labor violations in the food world.
Restaurant and Chef Awards
- A new category, Outstanding Bakery, has been added, recognizing a baker of breads, pastries, or desserts that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality, and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community. Eligible candidates must consistently sell goods directly to the public, but do not need a brick-and-mortar presence. Eligible candidates must have been in business for the past three years.
- Outstanding Pastry Chef and Outstanding Baker categories have been combined into Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker, recognizing a pastry chef or baker who makes desserts, pastries, or breads. An eligible candidate demonstrates exceptional skills and can be affiliated with any food business and does not need a brick-and-mortar presence. Candidate contributes positively to their broader community. Eligible candidates must have been working as a pastry chef or chef who makes desserts or breads for the past three years.
- Outstanding Wine Program, has been expanded to Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program. This award is presented to a restaurant that demonstrates exceptional care and skill in the pairing of wine and other beverages with food, while contributing positively to its broader community. This includes the selection, preparation, and serving of wine, cocktails, spirits, coffee, tea, beer or any other beverage with outstanding hospitality and service that helps inform and enhance a customer’s appreciation of the beverage(s). Ethical sourcing and positive contributions to the broader community will also be considered. The beverage program must be part of a restaurant that has been in operation for three or more consecutive years.
- Outstanding Bar has been expanded to include wines and other beverages. This award is presented to a wine bar, beer bar, cocktail bar, coffee bar or any other business whose primary offering is beverage and that demonstrates consistent excellence in curating a selection or in the preparation of drinks, along with outstanding atmosphere, hospitality, and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community. Eligible candidates must have been in business for three or more consecutive years, not including any time closed due to the pandemic.
As of the 2023 Awards cycle, the Restaurant and Chef Awards defines the annual eligibility timeframe as October through September (formerly January through December), to allow the voting body more time to consider businesses opening later in the calendar year. For the June 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards, the eligibility time frame will be January 1, 2022 through September 30, 2022. Businesses opening after September 30, 2022 will be under consideration for the June 2024 Awards. For all awards that require years in service, one year is counted October through September. For categories where restaurants or chefs have to be open or in the region for a minimum number of years, the years will be counted back from September 30, not including any time closed during the pandemic. For example, to be eligible for the Outstanding Restaurateur category for the 2023 Awards, restaurateurs will need to have been in the business since September 30, 2017 (five years in business).
As part of the Call for Entry or Recommendation process, all entrants (or those recommending entrants) are required to provide a short write-up or audio/visual recording reflecting on the James Beard Awards mission and the James Beard Foundations’ values, and how the entrant expresses them in their work. It is an opportunity for entrants (or those recommending entrants) to tell their story and purpose. The alignment statements will be reviewed for content, and not fluency or production value.
“We are excited to launch another incredible Awards season—to come together in community and recognize the outstanding work and people of our industry,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “The Open Call is the crucial first step to an extensive Awards process, where—through the submissions we receive—we discover the extraordinary talent, teams, projects, and hidden gems that exist across our country’s food system. Join us by celebrating all those working to create a more delicious, sustainable, and inclusive food culture by submitting your entries and recommendations for consideration this fall.”
For more information and to view the full list of 2023 Awards programs, criteria, and deadlines, visit the James Beard Awards page. Entries for all categories can be submitted via the online portal through November 30.