Sukle finalist for James Beard Awards

PROVIDENCE – Providence again this year is sending a finalist to the prestigious James Beard Awards, known as the “Oscars of the food world.”

The finalists for regional Best Chef awards were announced today in Philadelphia.

Nominated for Best Chef-Northeast is Ben Sukle, proprietor with his wife Heidi of Oberlin restaurant in Providence, which itself was a 2017 semifinalist. This is the second time in the finals for Sukle, who was also in the regional competition in 2017. The couple also owns the restaurant “birch.”

To be nominated for Best Chef, a candidate must have been working as a chef for at least five years with the three most recent years spent in the region. Other finalists with ties to Rhode Island are Tiffani Faison for her restaurant Tiger Mama and Karen Akunowicz, chef at Myers + Chang, both located in Boston. Faison and Akunowicz have been guest chefs at wine festivals in Newport. The Northeast region consists of Boston, Portland, Maine, and the other New England states, plus New York state. There is a separate category for chefs from New York City, where the Beard Foundation is located.

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The 2018 James Beard Awards will be presented in Chicago on May 7.

Bruce Newbury is a PBN contributing writer.