THE 2017 JAMES BEARD AWARD NOMINEES – ICC Graduates

The James Beard Foundation has released their final nominations for 2017. Included among the group of the hospitality industry’s finest, are several ICC alumni — and even our California Dean, David Kinch. We congratulate you all for receiving this deserved recognition for your achievements this year.

The final winners will be announced during The 2017 James Beard Awards Gala, hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson of ABC’s award-winning Modern Family. The ceremony will take place on Monday, May 1, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the 2017 Media Awards (formerly known as the Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards) will be hosted by JBF Award winner Andrew Zimmern and held on Tuesday, April 25, at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City.


Outstanding Pastry Chef : Ghaya Oliveira [Daniel, NYC]
Restaurant Management, Class of 2004 
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Outstanding Restaurant : Momofuku Noodle Bar [David Chang, NYC]
Classic Culinary Arts, Class of 2011
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Outstanding Service: Blue Hill at Stone Barns [Dan Barber, Pocantico Hills, NY] 
Classic Culinary Arts, Class of 1994 

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Outstanding Service: Zahav [Steven Cook, Philadelphia, PA]

Classic Culinary Arts, Class of 2000

Steven Cook, co-founder, CookNSolo Restaurants


Rising Star Chef of the Year: Matt Rudofker [Momofuku Ssäm Bar, NYC]

Classic Culinary Arts, Class of 2000

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Best Chef Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA): Greg Vernick [Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia]

Pastry Techniques, Class of 2011 

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Outstanding Chef: David Kinch [Manresa, Los Gatos, CA] 

Dean at the International Culinary Center 

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The 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Awards
Cooking from a Professional Point of View: Jason Licker for Lickerland: Asian Accented Desserts 
(Sirivatana Interprint Public Company Limited)
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CLICK HERE to see the full list of 2017 nominees. 

James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: Josh Skenes

Becoming a chef has always been something Josh Skenes wanted to pursue. He remembers making mud pies as a child and growing his own herbs in his gardens to add to his omelettes. Right after his high school graduation, he moved to Boston with the expectation of going to Art school. However, Skenes rerouted his life and moved to NYC instead to attend the International Culinary Center to pursue his passion for cooking and food.

While a student at the International Culinary Center, he worked full-time under the famed Chef Jean Georges in Jean-Georges Vongerichten. After graduating culinary school in 2001, he moved back to Boston and cooked under Anthony Ambrosia at Ambroia.

In 2003, he moved to San Francisco where he became the executive chef of Chez and help the restaurant received a star rating of 3.5 /4 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Skenes caught the attention of Chef Michael Mina and was asked to help open Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach in 2005. There, Skenes was awarded more stars for his innovative spin to modern America cooking. He returned to San Francisco, where he served as a consultant to various restaurants and help them develop their recipe, menu, and overall concept.

While he was helping others develop their concept, he started to cultivate his  own concept for Saison – which he opened first as pop up and then opened it as a full restaurant. Skenes has received many awards and accolades for his talents and restaurants. This year makes the third consecutive year that Skenes has earned a 3 Michelin star rating for his venue.

NominationOutstanding Service (Saison) 

For more information on the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalists, click here.

James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: Greg Vernick

Greg Vernick was born into a family who knew a lot about genuine quality food. His mother ran the Haddonfield Diet Shop in New Jersey, and his grandfather ran their family Philadelphia’s butcher shop Friedman’s Market. A graduate of Boston University, he went straight into CIA’s Culinary Program and soon after, the French Culinary Institute’s Sous-Vide Intensive and Pastry Techniques program.

Vernick moved to New York City to work on the line for the opening of Jean-Georges Vongericten’s Perry Street, under Chef Gregory Brainin. Vernick rose through the ranks and served as sous chef at Jean Georges, Nougatine, and Spice Market and became their corporate chef trainer for restaurants in Qatar, Tokyo, Vancouver, Boston, and Park City, Utah. After five years in the Vongerichten empire, Vernick took his final post away from home as chef de cuisine of New York’s Tocqueville.

In 2012, Vernick returned to Philadelphia and he and his wife, Julie, opened the doors to their first restaurants, Vernick Food & Drink, and soon after he received a James Beard Nomination. He would then be nominated for the award, 2 more times in 2015 & 2016.

Nomination: Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (Vernick Food & Drink)

For more information on the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalists, click here. 

James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: Ashley Christensen

In college, Ashley Christensen began cooking by throwing dinner parties for her friends and family. She then recognized her passion for cooking and sharing food,  which lead her to take her first professional cooking job at the age of 21. After years of working in various top restaurants, she would become a restaurateur in 2007, opening Poole’s Dinner. Four years later, she opened three new restaurants, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck and Fox Liquor. In 2014, Ashley was awarded the James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Southeast.” Then a year later she opened two new ventures, Death & Texas, a restaurant celebrating wood-fire cooking with Southern ingredients and Bridge Club, a private event loft and cooking classroom. Ashley’s work has gained national attention from such publications as Bon Appétit, Gourmet, The New York Times, Southern Living and Garden & Gun. She has appeared on Food Network’s popular series Iron Chef America and MSNBC’s Your Business. She has also  completed ICC’s Sous-Vide Intensive program.

NominationOutstanding Chef (Poole’s Diner)  

For more information on the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalists, click here. 

James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: David Kinch

A recipient of the Best Chefs in America award for the Pacific region from the James Beard Foundation and awarded two Michelin stars for five consecutive years, David Kinch is creating a legacy in the advancement of California cuisine in the 21st century. At Manresa, his restaurant in Los Gatos, California, where he is executive chef and proprietor, his philosophy is fostered by the “sense of place” of the California Coast, and the kind of ingredient-driven cooking and modern technique he studied in France, Spain, Germany, Japan, and the United States.

In 2006, he formed an exclusive partnership with Cynthia Sandberg of Love Apple Farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which supplies Manresa with year-round provisions and vegetables grown using biodynamic practices. By producing sustainable vegetables, he is creating a closed circle among guests, the garden and his highly personal cuisine. Today, David Kinch is a Dean at the California campus of the International Culinary Center.

Nomination: Outstanding Restaurant (Manresa)

For more information on the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalists, click here. 

James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: Tory Miller

Before Miller was a devotee to sustainability, he graduated the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center), looking for training and experience in professional kitchens. He worked in several of New York’s best restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park and Judson Grill, before arriving at L’Etoile to work as Odessa Piper’s chef de cuisine. In 2005, Miller purchased the restaurant with his sister and business partner, Traci Miller. Seven years later, he earned L’Etoile’s second James Beard Award for “Best Chef, Midwest.”

While Madison, Wisconsin may not be known as a culinary mecca,  Chef Tory Miller has created a small gustatory oasis with his four restaurants: L’Etoile, Graze, Sujeo, and Estrellón. Miller specializes in dishes made from locally grown, sustainable, organic ingredients, executed in part through a rigorous “put-by” system, in which he preserves summer produce for use year round.

Nomination: Outstanding Restaurant (L’Etoile)

For more information on the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalists, click here. 

James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: Dan Barber

Dan Barber is the Executive Chef and co-owner of Blue Hill, a restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, located within the nonprofit farm Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. His opinions on food and agricultural policy have appeared in The New York Times, along with many other publications. Chef Dan Barber has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef: New York City (2006), the Country’s Outstanding Chef (2009), and Writing and Literature for his book The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food (2015). His two restaurants have received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant in the U.S. for Blue Hill New York (2013) and Blue Hill at Stone Barns (2015). In 2009, he was named one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”

Nomination: Outstanding Service (Blue Hill at Stone Barns) 

For more information on the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalists, click here. 

James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: Matt Rudofker

Matt’s first kitchen experience was at the age of 16, in Philadelphia at Verti. In 2005, when he turned 18, he moved to New York and worked unpaid again at Cru before leaving for Oceana to work under Cornelius Gallagher. He then worked at Cru, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Matt then spent time at Daniel, where he was part of the team that earned both four stars from the New York Times, and 3 Michelin Stars. He even did a stage in England’s fame Fat Duck. Then in 2010 Rudofker signed on at Momofuku Ssäm Bar.

Nomination: Rising Star Chef of the Year 

For more information on the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalists, click here. 

James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: Joseph Baldino

Growing in South Philadelphia, Joseph Baldino has always been around great cooks and food. His mother and two aunts were credited as his earliest mentors. His life goal was to eventually own his own restaurant. Starting as a busboy at a small local trattoria, Baldino graduated from Temple University, and shortly after, enrolled in The French Culinary Institute. 

Following his culinary school graduation, Chef Baldino became the sous chef and eventually chef de cuisine for Vetri and Osteria. He traveled the world to work alongside esteemed chefs such as Georges Perrier, Jose Garces, Michael Solomonov, Alice Waters and Daniel Boulud. In 2011, he opened his restaurant Zeppoli, which was inspired by his stay at Anna Tasca Lanza’s farm in Sicily. Just months after opening, he received his first nomination from the James Beard Foundation, and has since become a semi-finalist three more times.

Nomination: Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic