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James Beard semifinalists named — here's who made it from South Carolina

Hospitality and Tourism
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Six nominees from South Carolina’s restaurant industry are among the semifinalists for the 2023 James Beard Awards.

The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for this year’s Restaurant and Chef Awards on Wednesday, Jan. 25. Nominees will be announced on March 29. Winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on June 5 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

“This is always an exhilarating moment as we kick off the awards cycle and recognize the outstanding achievements of individuals and teams across the country,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “After a year of fundamental changes, we look forward to building on the progress made, celebrating those paving a better future for us all through their talent and craft, service to others and commitment to a better, more sustainable industry.”

The nominees from South Carolina are:

Outstanding Restaurateur: Aaron Hoskins, Sarah Simmons, Nicole Storey and Elie Yigo of City Grit Hospitality in Columbia (SmallSUGAR, CITY GRIT and Il Focolare Pizzeria)

Emerging Chef: Bernard Bennett at Okan, Bluffton

Outstanding Hospitality: (a restaurant, bar or other food and drinking establishment that fosters a sense of hospitality) Lula Drake, Columbia

Best Chef (Southeast region): Daniel “Dano” Heinze of Vern’s, Charleston; Dayna Lee-Marquez of Comal 864, Greenville; Jessica Shillato, Spotted Salamander in Columbia.

The James Beard Awards, considered to be among the nation’s most prestigious honors, recognize exceptional talent in the culinary and food media industries, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive. 

A full list of nominees can be found online.



Reach Christina Lee Knauss at 803-753-4327.

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