Here’s the list of Florida and Puerto Rico semifinalists for the James Beard Awards

Vianda, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Image via Instagram @vianda_pr.

By Crystal Harlan

January 24, 2024

Florida and Puerto Rico are getting some much-deserved recognition by the James Beard Foundation. Ten semifinalists are based in the Sunshine State, while five are on la Isla.

The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2024 Restaurant and Chef Awards on Jan. 24, and several Puerto Rican and Florida chefs and eateries have made the coveted list.

While the awards have not been without controversy, they’re still considered among the most prestigious of national recognitions in the culinary world. Finalists will be announced on April 3, and winners will be revealed at a gala ceremony in Chicago on June 10.

Here are the semifinalists based in Florida and Puerto Rico:

Outstanding Chef

Francis Guzmán, Vianda, San Juan

Best New Restaurant

Kaya, Orlando

Outstanding Bakery

Vía Láctea, San Juan
Zak the Baker, Miami

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

Jesus Brazon and Manuel Brazon, Caracas Bakery, Doral and Miami

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

Macchialina, Miami Beach

Outstanding Bar

Webb’s City Cellar, St. Petersburg

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, PR)

Jennifer Berdin and Mark Berdin, Kadence, Orlando
Valerie Chang, Maty’s, Miami
Clay Conley, Buccan, Palm Beach
Tristen Epps, Ocean Social, Miami
Ruben Guzman, Leña Eh Food Truck, San Juan
Gabriel Hernandez, Verde Mesa, San Juan
Henry Moso, Kabooki Sushi, Orlando
Carlos Portela, Orujo, San Juan


  • Crystal Harlan

    Crystal is a bilingual editor and writer with over 20 years of experience in digital and print media. She is currently based in Florida, but has lived in small towns in the Midwest, Caracas, New York City, and Madrid, where she earned her MA in Spanish literature.


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