Four Minnesota restaurants, two chefs and one restaurateur have been named as semifinalists for this year's prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards.
The shortlist for this year's awards were released on Wednesday, with Minneapolis' Owamni and Union Hmong Kitchen among those nominated for Best New Restaurant.
Owamni head chef Sean Sherman, known as The Sioux Chef, has also been named in the Best Chef Midwest category along with Union Hmong Kitchen's Yia Vang, Jorge Guzmán, Petite León in Minneapolis, and Erik Skaar of Vann in Spring Park.
Sherman has won numerous plaudits for his first restaurant serving Indigenous cuisine, which opened last July at 420 1st St. S.
Here are the Minnesota nominees:
Best new restaurant:
- Owamni, Minneapolis
- Union Hmong Kitchen, Minneapolis
Best Chef Midwest
- Jorge Guzmán, Petite León, Minneapolis
- Sean Sherman, Owamni, Minneapolis
- Yia Vang, Union Hmong Kitchen, Minneapolis
- Erik Skaar, Vann, Spring Park, MN
- Kim Bartmann
Named in the outstanding restaurateur category is Kim Bartmann, who has built herself a mini-empire of acclaimed restaurants across the Twin Cities, with her portfolio including Barbette, Trapeze, Red Stag Supperclub, Tiny Diner, Book Club, Bread & Pickle, Gigi's Cafe, and Pat's Tap.
But her company was the subject of an investigation at the beginning of the pandemic over overtime wages that were owed to staff prior to the COVID-related shutdowns in spring 2020.
It culminated with a $230,000 settlement being reached with the Minnesota Attorney General's Office in 2021, with Bartmann neither admitting nor denying wrongdoing as part of the agreement, per MPR News.