Three Twin Cities chefs have been nominated for 2019 James Beard Foundation awards.

The prestigious honors, the so-called “Oscars of the food world,” recognize and celebrate excellence in restaurants, cookbooks, journalism and design.

In the category of Best Chef: Midwest, the nominees include Ann Kim of Young Joni (165 13th Av. NE., Mpls.,, Jamie Malone of Grand Cafe (3804 Grand Av. S., Mpls., and Christina Nguyen of Hai Hai (2121 University Av. NE., Mpls.,

Kim was a 2018 nominee, and this is a first nomination for Malone and Nguyen.

Other chefs in the category include Michael Corvino of Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room in Kansas City and Michael Gallina of Vicia in St. Louis.

The Best Chef: Midwest category is one of 10 regional chef awards. The Beard’s Midwest region includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.

The award goes to chefs in any kind of dining establishment “who set high culinary standards and also demonstrate integrity and admirable leadership skills in their respective regions.”

(For a complete list of the nominees, go to On the media side, Steve Hoffman was nominated in two categories (Foodways and the M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award) for “What is Northern Food?” in Artful Living magazine.

Winners in media categories will be announced April 26 in New York City. Winners in restaurant categories will be announced May 6 at the foundation’s annual gala at Chicago’s Civic Opera House.

He’s a winner

Sean Sherman, founder and CEO of the Sioux Chef (, is one of five recipients of the foundation’s 2019 Leadership Awards.

The awards highlight individuals working in the “important and complex realms of sustainability, food justice and public health,” according to a statement from the New York City-based culinary foundation. Sherman is the first Minnesotan to be a Leadership Award recipient since the program began nine years ago.

“Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, focuses on the revitalization and awareness of indigenous foods systems in a modern culinary context, a mission which led him to create the company the Sioux Chef in 2014,” announced the foundation in a statement. “Sherman has studied extensively to determine the foundations of these food systems which include the knowledge of Native American farming techniques, wild food usage and harvesting, land stewardship, food preservation, regional diversity, Native American migrational histories, along with indigenous culture and history in general to gain a full understanding of bringing back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world.”

Sherman is opening a native foods restaurant near St. Anthony Falls in downtown Minneapolis in 2020.

Sherman is no stranger to the James Beard Awards. Last year, his book, “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen” — published by the University of Minnesota Press with co-author Beth Dooley — won the Beard for best book in the American category.

“We’re so honored to be on the list with so many amazing past winners, people like Michelle Obama and Dan Barber,” said Sherman. “We’re working really hard to do something different, and this gives us a bigger platform to educate people to the work that we’re trying to accomplish.”

Other recipients include the Pioneer Valley Workers’ Center in Northhampton, Mass.; Cornelius Blanding, executive director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund in East Point, Ga.; Leah Penniman, co-executive director and program manager of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, N.Y.; and Anim Steel, co-founder and executive director of Real Food Generation in Cambridge, Mass.

Sherman will receive his award at the foundation’s annual Leadership Awards dinner on May 5 in Chicago.