Cincinnati restaurants hit national spotlight with 3 James Beard Awards finalists

·1 min read

It's been a big day for the Greater Cincinnati restaurant industry. One local chef and two restaurants have been named finalists for the 2023 James Beard Foundation Awards.

The nominees were announced Wednesday during a live ceremony at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. The James Beard Awards are widely considered the Oscars of the restaurant world, recognizing exemplary talent in the culinary and food media industries.

Here's who has been nominated from Cincinnati:

Mita's in downtown Cincinnati was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant, presented by Acqua Panna Natural Spring Water. This award goes to a restaurant that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community.

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Nolia Kitchen in Over-the-Rhine was nominated for Best New Restaurant. This award goes to a restaurant opened between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2022 that already demonstrates excellence in cuisine, atmosphere, hospitality and operations, while contributing positively to its broader community, and seems likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

And Elaine Uykimpang Bentz of Cafe Mochiko in East Walnut Hills has been nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker. This category recognizes a pastry chef or baker who makes desserts, pastries or breads and demonstrates exceptional skills and can be affiliated with any food business.

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The James Beard Awards ceremony will be held in June.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: James Beard Awards finalists: Nolia Kitchen, Cafe Mochiko chef, Mita's