These Are New Jersey’s James Beard Award Semifinalists for 2020

Eight Garden State chefs and restaurants have been nominated for this year’s awards, which recognize excellence in the food world.
By Emily Bell | February 27, 2020

It’s the 30th anniversary of the James Beard Foundation Awards, and Jersey has all the more reason to celebrate this time, with eight chefs and restaurants represented on this year’s list of semifinalists.

Among familiar names is New Jersey’s own mother of soulful heritage cuisine, Maricel Presilla of Cucharamama, who is nominated once again in the “Outstanding Chef” category. Presilla already has three James Beard Awards under her belt: “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” 2012, “Cookbook of the Year” in 2013 for Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, and a “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” win in 2015. An “Outstanding Chef” win would not only be deserved, it would cement her culinary legacy as a highly influential voice in our national culinary conversation.

New entrants on this year’s lists include Jersey City’s 15 Fox Place, which was nominated for “Outstanding Hospitality,” and Cookie Till, nominated for “Outstanding Restaurateur.” 15 Fox Place is a unique father-and-son-run BYO Italian prix fixe out of a home in the Journal Square section of Jersey City. (And yes, good luck to all of us getting a reservation now.) Cookie Till is from Steve and Cookie’s in Margate, as well as the more recent small batch bakery concept Ventnor No. 7311.

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