Minneapolis chef named best in Midwest as James Beard Awards are conferred

Joann Johnston
May 8, 2018

Highlands Bar and Grill received the top award after multiple nominations in the category over the years.

Nina Compton, who made a name for herself at Miami Beach's Scarpetta, won the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef: South at at a ceremony at the Lyric Opera of Chicago Monday night. Highlands, opened by Frank Stitt in 1982, features his vision of U.S. Southern cuisine paired with classic techniques learned in France.

It was a double-winning night for Highlands, too.

Female chefs won four of the 10 regional chef awards overall. At 27, she is an old hand at the nominations; she recieved a nod a year ago.

The Beard Awards moved to Chicago in 2015 after being based in NY for more than 20 years. She is also a previous James Beard victor, taking home the award for best chef in the southeast in 2014.

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Attendees and participants at this year's event held in Chicago wore pins stating what the Beard Foundation stands for, such as "equality" and "integrity".

Camille Cogswell of Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia was named the rising star chef of the year.

This year's other finalists for outstanding restaurant were Balthazar in New York City, Canlis in Seattle, Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colo., and Quince in San Francisco. The outstanding baker award went to Belinda Leong and Michel Suas of B. Patisseries in San Francisco.

Zahav, owned by Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook, again was nominated for service.

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