Of the eight South Florida chefs and restaurants who were named semifinalists in the 2018 James Beard Foundation awards, one has advanced to the finals, announced Wednesday in Philadelphia. Brad Kilgore of Alter restaurant in Wynwood and Brava at the Arsht Center is a nominee for Best Chef: South in the Beard Awards.
“I’m very proud of my team and everything we’ve done,” Kilgore told INDULGE. “It’s been a goal to put out good, interesting food, and I guess people like it, and that’s what feels really good. I think this recognition is really a reflection of what’s happening in Miami itself. It’s growing, it’s more open-minded.”
Kilgore will compete for the votes of journalists and past Beard Award winners with chefs Nina Compton (, Vishwesh Bhatt (Snackbar in Oxford, Mississippi), Jose Enrique (Jose Enrique in San Juan, Puerto Rico), Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus (Coquette in New Orleans), and Slade Rushing (Brennan’s in New Orleans).
Compton, who was a finalist in this category last year, moved to New Orleans after making a name for herself while leading the kitchen at Scarpetta in the Fontainebleau Miami Beach and making it to the finals of Top Chef. She opened a second New Orleans restaurant, Bywater American Bistro, this month.
Kilgore was a national semifinalist in the Beard Awards’ Rising Star Chef category in 2016 and 2017. This is his first appearance on the Best Chef: South list.
Winners will be announced May 7 at a gala in Chicago.
Beard Awards are the Oscars of the food world
The Beard Awards recognized more South Florida chefs and restaurants this year than in 2017, when there were five local semifinalists and no finalists or winners. Besides Kilgore, this year’s Miami-area semifinalists included:
Janine Booth of Stiltsville Fish Bar (Rising Star Chef)
Zak Stern of Zak the Baker (Outstanding Baker)
Niven Patel of Ghee Indian Kitchen (Best Chef: South)
Lindsay Autry of The Regional Kitchen & Public House (Best Chef: South)
Clay Conley of Buccan (Best Chef: South)
Palme d’Or in Coral Gables (Outstanding Service)
The Forge in Miami Beach (Outstanding Wine Program)