MILWAUKEE — The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2022 awards Wednesday morning, and nine Milwaukee chefs and restaurants were acknowledged.
Outstanding Restaurateur: Joe Muench, Black Shoe Hospitality
This is Joe Muench's first time being among the semi-finalists for Outstanding Restaurateur. Black Shoe Hospitality includes restaurants Maxie's, Blue's Egg, Story Hill BKC, and Buttermint.
Outstanding Chef: Kyle Knall, Birch
Kyle Knall, who helped open the Birch restaurant in downtown Milwaukee last year, will become its owner in early spring, according to our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Outstanding Restaurant: Odd Duck
Odd Duck is a small plates restaurant located at 99 S 2nd S. in Milwaukee. The shareable menu is inspired by local ingredients.
Outstanding Hospitality: Sanford
Sanford is a New American restaurant located at 1547 N Jackson St. in Milwaukee. Sanford is noted for its elegant venue in a neighborhood house.
Outstanding Bar Program: Goodkind
Goodkind is corner tavern and New American restaurant located at 2457 S Wentwoth Ave. near Lake Michigan.
Best Chef - Midwest: Dane Baldwin, The Diplomat
Dane Baldwin is a three-time semi-finalist. Baldwin is the owner an chef at The Diplomat on Milwaukee's lower east side. He previously worked at Bacchus – A Bartolotta Restaurant, as well as SURG Restaurant Group's steakhouse Carnevor.
Best Chef - Midwest: Karen Bell, Bavette La Boucherie
Karen Bell is a five-time semi-finalist. According to our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal, Bell traveled as a chef before re-establishing roots in Milwaukee. She worked in Chicago, then San Francisco, before moving to Madrid to take a break.
Best Chef - Midwest: Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, EsterEv
Daniel Jacobs and Dan Van Rite have made the list for four years. The two created their modern Chinese-American restaurant, DanDan, in 2016. The duo then opened their fine dining restaurant and chef's table concept, EsterEv, inside DanDan.
Best Chef - Midwest: Gregory León, Amilinda
This is Gregory Leon's first time being a semi-finalist. Leon owns Amilinda, a Spanish-Portuguese restaurant. He previously spent 18 years cooking in San Francisco restaurants like Poesia, Mirtille and Horatius, as well as a few in Madrid, Spain.