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Chef Ryan Smith in the garden at Staplehouse.
Chef Ryan Smith of Staplehouse has been nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast
Andrew Thomas Lee

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All the Atlanta Finalists Up For a James Beard Award Tonight

Staplehouse chef Ryan Smith, Ticonderoga Club, and Kimball House are among those headed to the annual food awards ceremony in Chicago

Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

The finalists for the 2019 James Beard Foundation (JBF) awards were announced on March 27 in Houston with the help of Atlanta chef and James Beard Foundation chair Anne Quatrano. These are the Atlanta restaurants and chefs headed to the awards ceremony tonight — the equivalent to the Oscars in the food world — at Lyric Opera in Chicago.

Follow the awards ceremony live stream or via JBF’s Twitter feed on May 6 starting at 7 p.m. ET.

Best Chef Southeast

Ryan Smith of Staplehouse in Atlanta

Mashama Bailey of The Grey in Savannah

Outstanding Bar Program

Ticonderoga Club at Krog Street Market

Kimball House in Decatur

Outstanding Wine Program

Miller Union in Atlanta

Outstanding Restaurateur

Chef Hugh Acheson of Empire State South in Atlanta and Five & Ten and The National in Athens

2019 Humanitarian of the Year Award

Giving Kitchen, an Atlanta-based nonprofit providing crisis grants and assistance to restaurant workers, was awarded the 2019 Humanitarian of the Year Award by the James Beard Foundation earlier this month. The award is presented to restaurant organizations or individuals working to benefit the restaurant community.

In the seven years since the nonprofit was founded, Giving Kitchen provided assistance to nearly 2,500 food industry workers around metro Atlanta and Athens, totaling over $2.4 million. All of the after-tax profits from Staplehouse go to benefit Giving Kitchen.

Members of Giving Kitchen and Staplehouse, including spokesperson and co-founder Jen Hidinger-Kendrick, plan to accept the award at the gala and make a special announcement regarding the future of the organization around 7 p.m. tonight.

Previous winners of the Humanitarian of the Year Award include: chefs José Andrés, Emeril Lagasse, and Charlie Trotter as well as One World Everybody Eats founder, Denise Cerreta.

Winners in the book/television/journalism categories were announced at a dinner in New York on April 26.

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

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