James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: Alex Roberts

At the age of 15, Alex Roberts was working as a dish washer at Caspers, a restaurant in southern Minneapolis. When a cook didn’t show up to work one night, the Chef asked Roberts to work in the kitchen. From that day forward, the chef told the owner, “He’s with us now. Get a new dishwasher.” and thus began his cooking career!

Now the chef/owner of Restaurant Alma for the last 17 years, Chef Alex Roberts continuously elevates his cuisine and venue. Converting an adjacent coffeehouse into a casual, all-day cafe and adding a six-room hotel upstairs, the culinary entrepreneur certainly earns the title of ‘Outstanding Chef’ — regardless of who wins the award.

Nomination: Outstanding Chef (Restaurant Alma) 

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.