Grind Time: 2014 Beard Award semifinalists named

Feb. 20, 2014 | 0 Comments


Four Hawaii-based chefs and one Honolulu restaurant are in the running for 2014 James Beard Awards, according to a blog posted Wednesday by the James Beard Foundation.

Vintage Cave Executive Chef Chris Kajioka. (Star-Advertiser File)

Vintage Cave Executive Chef Chris Kajioka. (Star-Advertiser File)

Vintage Cave’s Chris Kajioka, MW’s Michelle Karr-Ueoka, Town’s Ed Kenney and The Pig & The Lady’s Andrew Le were all named semifinalists, with MW also picked as a semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category.

“It’s an amazing honor to be included with such incredible talent,” said Kajioka, who was named a semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year. “I grew up looking up to those awards. It also shows that Hawaii is on the rise and a place everyone is looking at again.”

Le, who is also a semifinalist in the Rising Star Chef of the Year category, was “shocked” at the “unexpected” news.

“I’m honored to be among this list of accomplished chefs,” he said. “I cook not for the awards, but to create new tastes and experiences, and I wouldn’t be where I am without all the support from my family, friends, dedicated team and our loyal customers.”

Kenney was named a semifinalist for the second year in a row in the Best Chef: West category, a regional award that includes chefs from Hawaii and California. Karr-Ueoka is a semifinalist in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category.

For the first time, Wednesday’s announcement of the semifinalists came via a live event hosted by the James Beard Foundation. East End Market in Orlando, Fla. was selected because of the city’s “on-the-rise culinary profile,” according to a blog posted on Monday.

Semifinalists for the foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Award categories, 10 regional awards and multiple national awards were selected from more than 40,000 submissions collected online in October. Voters comprised of former Beard Award winners, Restaurant and Chef Award committee members and regional panelists will select five semifinalists in each category to become official Beard Award nominees.

Winners will be announced on March 18.
“Grind Time” is always looking for the latest places to get your grub on. Email Jason Genegabus with restaurant, bar or any other food/drink-related item at and follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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