11 Restaurants, Restaurateurs, Chefs, Bars In New Orleans Among 2017 James Beard Award Finalists

Elsa Hahne
Chef Nina Compton of Compère Lapin

NEW ORLEANS – The James Beard Foundation announced the finalist nominees for the 2017 James Beard Foundations Awards yesterday, Wednesday, March 15, and 11 restaurants, restaurateurs, chefs and bars in New Orleans were listed among those honored.

         Winners will be announced at the James Beard Award Gala on Monday, May 1, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

         “We wish the nominees in all categories the best of luck at this year’s Awards ceremonies,” said James Beard Foundation president Susan Ungaro.

         Finalists in New Orleans include:


• Outstanding Bar Program

         A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.

Arnaud’s French 75 Bar



• Outstanding Chef (Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters)

         A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Must have been working as a chef for the past five years.

Donald Link


• Outstanding Pastry Chef 

         A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant, and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

Kelly Fields
Willa Jean


• Outstanding Restaurateur

         A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.

JoAnn Clevenger


• Outstanding Service

         A restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.

Galatoire’s Restaurant


• Outstanding Wine Program (Presented by Robert Mondavi Winery)

         A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff and efforts to educate customers about wine.

Emeril’s New Orleans


• Rising Star Chef of the Year (Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water)

         A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Zachary Engel


• Best Chefs in America

         Chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions. Eligible candidates may be from any kind of dining establishment and must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region.


         Best Chef:  South (AL, AR, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, FL, LA, MS)

Nina Compton
​Compère Lapin


Slade Rushing


Rebecca Wilcomb


         The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America's food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.

         For more information


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