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Three Las Vegas Chefs Are James Beard Award Semifinalists

The Best Chef: Southwest category includes several Vegas chefs

Closeup on a silver medal featuring the face of James Beard. Around the edge of the medal, text reads “James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence.” James Beard Foundation

Three Las Vegas chefs are recognized on the 2022 James Beard Award Semifinalist list, all in the category of Best Chef: Southwest. Gina Marinelli, chef of La Strega and Harlo, Jamie Tran of The Black Sheep, and Hongrui Xin, of Big Dan Shanxi Taste are all highlighted.

Marinelli’s La Strega, which was Eater Vegas’s 2019 restaurant of the year is known for its regional Italian dishes, inspired in particular by Marinelli’s grandparents, who are from Lake Como and Sicily. Jamie Tran opened The Black Sheep in 2017 and was recognized by Eater as Chef of the Year the same year; the menu features influences from Tran’s Vietnamese background. Big Dan Shanxi Taste is a regional Chinese restaurant known for Xi’an dishes tucked inside Shun Fat Supermarket on Spring Mountain Road.

This year marks the first time since 2019 that The James Beard Awards, which are broadly recognized as the most prestigious awards for the restaurant community, will announce winners. The 2020 virtual awards ceremony was canceled amid controversy, and the foundation skipped 2021 altogether in order to complete an audit of their practices. The 2020 Vegas finalists included Dan Krohmer of Other Mama and James Trees of Esther’s Kitchen.

The long list, as the semi-finalist nominations are sometimes called, is the first round of the Beard’s award season system. The short list of nominees, or finalists, will be released on Wednesday, March 16th, and the final awards will take place in Chicago on June 13th.

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.

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