By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The James Beard Foundation has announced the finalists for this year’s awards, and they include some notable Minnesota chefs.

On Wednesday, James Beard Foundation announced that Diane Yang, of Minneapolis’ Spoon and Stable, is a national finalist for outstanding pastry chef. Yang has never been nominated in this category, and she is the only Minnesota chef nominated in a national Beard Foundation category.

“It’s still mindblowing, I’m still in shock,” said Yang. “My mom just called me, I’m happy for my whole team, happy for Minnesota, happy for Gavin.”

Gavin is Gavin Kaysen, also of Spoon and Stable, one of the three Minnesota chefs also announced as Beard Award finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category. Steven Brown, chef/owner of Tilia in Linden Hills and Ann Kim, chef/owner of Young Joni in Northeast Minneapolis are also finalists.

Brown was nominated as Best Chef: Midwest in 2017, Kaysen and Kim are newcomers to the list of finalists. They’ll compete against two Milwaukee chefs: Karen Bell of Bavette and Justin Carlisle from Ardent.

“I don’t know how this little Hmong girl from Wisconsin made it to Minnesota to be where she is,” marveled Yang, adding, “I work hard. I love what I do.”

Finalists in the journalism, television and book awards were also announced: Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley were nominated for their cookbook “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen” in the American Cookbook category. Andrew Zimmern was nominated for the video webcast category for his “Andrew in The Kitchen” instructional videos. American Public Media’s The Splendid Table is produced in St. Paul, it was nominated in Radio Show for its episode on Buddhist Cooking in Japan.

Winners will be announced on May 7.

You can see the full list here.


DeRusha Eats: La Belle Vie’s Diane Yang (2014)
DeRusha Eats: Spoon And Stable (2014)
DeRusha Eats: Tilia’s In Linden Hills (2012)
DeRusha Eats: The Sioux Chef (2015)
DeRusha Eats: Andrew Zimmern Fights Childhood Hunger (2016)


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