Two R.I. chefs named James Beard Award semifinalists

BEN SUKLE, chef and proprietor with his wife Heidi of Oberlin and birch restaurants in Providence, is a semifinalist for Best Chef-Northeast in the 2019 James Beard Awards. / PBN FILE PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
BEN SUKLE, chef and proprietor with his wife Heidi of Oberlin and birch restaurants in Providence, is a semifinalist for Best Chef-Northeast in the 2019 James Beard Awards. / PBN FILE PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY

PROVIDENCE – The 2019 James Beard Award semifinalists were announced Wednesday morning and two Rhode Island chef-restaurateurs are in the hunt.

Nominated for Best Chef-Northeast are chef-owner Ben Sukle for his restaurant “Oberlin” in Providence and James Mark for his modern “north” eatery also in the city. Mark began north off Broadway in Providence then moved it downtown to the Dean Hotel. North is being nominated for the first time. This makes the third consecutive year Sukle has been nominated for the regional chef award. His 2018 nomination was for Oberlin while his first restaurant “birch” accompanied his 2017 nomination.

JAMES MARK, owner and chef at north has been named a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef-Northeast. / PBN FILE PHOTO/FRANK MULLIN

Twenty chefs were nominated in the Best Chef-Northeast category.

The final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees will be named in Houston on Wednesday, March 27. The 2019 James Beard Awards Gala will take place on Monday, May 6, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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Bruce Newbury is a PBN contributing writer.