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The Hudson Valley’s James Beard Award Semifinalists for 2023

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

By Matt Moment, with additional reporting by Raphael Beretta and Sabrina Sucato

For foodies across the United States, there’s no list quite as exciting as the James Beard Award Semifinalists. In the Hudson Valley, said list is nothing short of remarkable for the local chefs ranked within it. That’s right! This year, five chefs and restaurants are honored among the best in the nation.

Can you guess which local names earned top rankings?

Best New Restaurant

Stissing House is the only upstate restaurant to earn a spot as a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant. Under the direction of Clare de Boer—an alum of King, the Michelin-starred bistro in Manhattan—the historic restaurant reopened in spring of 2022 with a menu composed of simple tavern food. “We’re working with local farms to show off some of our favorite things in the area. Nothing fancy, just delicious,” de Boer says in a feature from Hudson Valley’s June 2022 print issue.


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Stissing House “was built in 1782 to serve as a watering hole for the swinging country town of Pine Plains,” de Boer reports in her summary of the building’s history. After falling into disrepair around the first World War, the structure was renovated in the 1990s and subsequently housed a French restaurant. Along with Oliviero Borgna and Suzanne Nelson, de Boer has ushered in an exciting next chapter for this storied eatery.

Related: Stissing House Reopens With Tavern Fare and Historic Touches

Outstanding Hospitality

Hudson’s crown jewel, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, has earned yet another nomination for Outstanding Hospitality. If you’ve ever set foot in the eatery, with its psychedelic vibe and equally psychedelic bites, you already know this is a well-earned honor on the part of Carla Perez-Gallardo and Hannah Black, the “artist-chefs” (to quote Vogue’s apt description) behind Lil’ Debs.


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Even its ever-changing menu effuses personality—love advice, listed as a dessert, will cost you $1.69—but don’t let that distract you from the deliciousness of dishes like braised goat shoulder, vegan hand-pulled noodles, and abuela’s beans.

Best Chef

In the lengthiest category, Best Chef, three of the Hudson Valley’s foremost culinary minds represent the region as semifinalists.


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About 100 feet down the street from Lil Deb’s stands Café Mutton, an eclectic meat-forward restaurant with a cult following, in no small part because of the prodigious imagination of its chef and owner, Shaina Loew-Banayan. Bon Appétit’s restaurant editor, Elazar Sontag, called her grub “an anti-trend rebuttal to social media-driven cooking,” and the New York Times included Café Mutton on its list of the 50 best restaurants in America. Despite all the hype, Loew-Banayan is all about the good of the food—Café Mutton’s seasonal menus with rotating daily specials continue to impress.

Related: This Hudson Restaurant Is One of the Best in the United States

The James Beard Foundation also honored Paolo Garcia Mendoza, the chef and owner of Karenderya, for his “casual, community-oriented, Filipino-inspired restaurant.” The Philippines native moved to the states at age 15, eventually studying at the Institute of Culinary Education and rubbing elbows with big names in the restaurant industry throughout a dynamic career.


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In 2018, Esquire dubbed Karenderya one of the “Best New Restaurants in America,” and since, Mendoza has cemented his reputation as a superlative chef in our region.

Across the river (and up 42 stories) in White Plains, Chef Anthony Gonçalves cooks from Kanopi, his perch of a restaurant in the Opus Westchester. Chef Gonçalves is nominated for his “unique farm-to-table culinary experience unlike any other,” which he curates with the help of his wife, Andreia.

Together, the couple endeavors to present “the essence of Portugal while remaining firmly rooted in the Hudson Valley through seasonal menus” in a romantic atmosphere with views of the New York City skyline.

So, with all that said: Who are you rooting for, Hudson Valley? If you’ve dined at any of these exceptional establishments, be sure to share your experience with us on social media. Stay tuned—a list of nominees will be announced on March 29, and winners will be announced on June 5.

Related: Hudson Valley Restaurant Openings and Closings to Note in 2023