No Colorado winners in this year’s James Beard Awards

Colorado came up empty-handed at the 2023 James Beard Awards.

The “Oscars” of the food industry’s live ceremony took place at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on June 5, and no Colorado restaurant or chef was among the 23 winners that the foundation awarded. That wasn’t unexpected, though since Chef Michael Diaz de Leon of BRUTØ, 1801 Blake St., was the only Colorado nominee this year.

De Leon was in the running for the best chef in the Mountain Region, which includes Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. It was awarded to Chef Kris Komori with KIN in Boise, Idaho.

Colorado is usually a strong contender for the James Beard Awards.

When the foundation announced semifinalists in January, Colorado boasted 13 nominations, some of them in nationally competitive categories such as outstanding restaurateur, outstanding chef and best new restaurant. De Leon was the only one to advance.

In 2022, Colorado swept the best chef in the Mountain Region category with five finalists all hailing from the Front Range. Annette’s Caroline Glover ended up taking home the prize.

And two years before that, in 2020, Colorado notched an astonishing 18 semifinalist nominations and six finalists, including Glover and Dana Rodriguez at Super Mega Bien, but the awards were canceled in light of the pandemic, as well as in 2021.

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