Food & Drink

Three Filipino American Chefs Named Semifinalists For the 2019 James Beard Awards

Tom Cunanan, Margarita Manzke, and Sheldon Simeon were each nominated in three different categories.
IMAGE COURTESY OF SIERRA PRESCOTT
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It’s time yet again to cheer for Filipino ingenuity as the prestigious James Beard Foundation recognizes three Filipino-American chefs for their talent. Tom Cunanan, Margarita Lorenzana Manzke, and Sheldon Simeon were each listed as semifinalists in advance of the 29th annual James Beard Awards.

No stranger to the list, Cunanan of Bad Saint has been nominated under the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category for the third consecutive year. Simeon’s Hawaii-based restaurant Lineage is up for the Best New Restaurant Award, while Manzke is once again nominated under the Outstanding Pastry Chef category. The winners will be announced at an awarding ceremony hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson on May 6, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

“Good Food for Good” is the theme of this year’s James Beard Awards and our three contenders have definitely delivered. Manzke is one-half of the partnership behind Republique in Los Angeles. She and her husband, Walter, have been running the restaurant since December 2013. She is also co-owner of one of Manila’s favorite haunts, Wildflour, together with her sister Ana Lorenzana de Ocampo. After growing up in the Philippines, she moved to London to study at Le Cordon Bleu, then to New York to earn her degree in Culinary Arts. She’s now based in Los Angeles, where she mans both Republique and Sari Sari Store.

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More: How Wildflour Won Over Manila's Dining Public

Tom Cunanan has had his fair share of culinary recognition. In 2016, The Washington-based restaurant Bad Saint took second place in Bon Appetit’s annual list of America’s Best New Restaurants. The following year, Cunanan earned his very first James Beard nomination for his work at Bad Saint, which has consistently served refreshing new takes on traditional Filipino recipes. Three consecutive nominations later, will this be the year that Cunanan finally takes home the title of Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic category?

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More: 9 Filipino Chefs and Restaurant Experts Taking Over The Global Food Scene

After appearing on reality television Top Chef, Sheldon Simeon proves he’s not done showing us his cooking chops just yet with the opening of his first full-service restaurant, Lineage, in Hilo, Hawaii. Lineage’s menu marries traditional Hawaiian cuisine with Simeon’s own family recipes. He reveals in an interview with Eater that he personally journeyed back to his homeland to retrieve his grandmother’s adobo recipe.

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h/t: Asian Journal

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Features Editor
Hannah is originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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