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5 Hudson Valley Chefs Are 2022 James Beard Award Semifinalists

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The esteemed nonprofit James Beard Foundation recognizes five beloved Hudson Valley institutions for their culinary excellence.

Additional reporting by Raphael Beretta

For foodies across the United States, there’s no list quite as exciting as that of the James Beard Award Semifinalists. In the Hudson Valley, said list, which dropped on February 23 this year, is nothing short of remarkable for the local chefs ranked within it. That’s right! In 2022, not one, but four Hudson Valley chefs have been named James Beard Award Semifinalists for Best Chef: New York State.

While the honor is impressive in itself, it’s particularly noteworthy when one considers the fact that the Best Chef category encompasses all of New York State, including the entirety of New York City.

Can you guess which local names earned top rankings?

 

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In Hudson, the creative culinarians behind Lil’ Deb’s Oasis scored a semifinalist nomination for Best Chef. However, the acclaim for this Columbia County hotspot doesn’t stop there. In fact, Hannah Black and Carla Perez-Gallardo earned their third straight nomination, after back-to-back recognition in 2019 and 2020 (the James Beard Foundation did not hold awards in 2021, auditing its nomination process instead). Read about their 2019 nomination for Best Chef: Northeast here.

In addition, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis was nominated for Outstanding Hospitality (presented by American Airlines). They were selected alongside 19 other nominees, and are one of only two New York restaurants recognized by this award.

Lobster-with-Peppers

Lobster with peppers | Photo by Matthew Mancuso

Moving south, Albert and Malenda Bartley of Top Taste in Kingston earned a shout for their mouthwatering Jamaican fare. Similarly, Gabe McMackin garnered a nomination for his culinary direction at Troutbeck in Amenia. The Michelin-starred chef works with ingredients from within a 15-mile radius. He perfected his expertise of the Hudson Valley’s unique bounty at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester.

master chefs

Gabe McMackin. By Matthew Mancuso.

Speaking of Westchester, O Mandarin’s Eric Gao in Hartsdale and Goosefeather’s Dale Talde in Tarrytown round out the list of Hudson Valley semifinalists.

master chefs

Eric Gao. Courtesy of O Mandarin.

So what comes next? Now that the semifinalist list, which includes categories ranging from “new” (best chef by region, for instance) to “outstanding” (bakery, bar program, restaurant) and considers chefs and restaurants from across the 50 states, is out in the world, nominees have to bite their nails in anticipation until March 16, when the James Beard Foundation reveals the finalists in Scottsdale, Arizona.

After that, the foundation announces its big winners at The James Beard Awards Gala, which celebrates its 32th anniversary, on June 13.

Do you think any Hudson Valley chefs will make it to the next round? With an increased focus on geographic diversity (New York State chefs are now in a separate category from Northeast chefs but part of the same category as New York City chefs), this year’s awards boast more Best Chef nominees and, ultimately, winners. While we can’t promise the winner for Best Chef: New York will be from the Hudson Valley (although we can certainly hope with all our hearts), we can say that the anticipation is more than a little delicious.

 

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Have you dined at any of these James Beard-nominated restaurants in the Hudson Valley? Share your experiences on social media!

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