Korean Americans Nominated for the 2015 James Beard Awards

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Four Korean American chefs have been nominated for the 2015 James Beard Awards, often referred to as the “Oscars of the food world.” The awards are presented annually and honor leaders in the food industry, including chefs, restaurant owners and designers, food journalists and cooking show hosts.

Chefs Corey Lee and Edward Lee have been nominated for best chef in the West and Southeast regions, respectively. In addition, Rachel Yang of Joule has been nominated for Best Chef: Northwest.


Corey currently helms the Michelin three-star restaurant Benu in San Francisco. He has worked at acclaimed restaurants in Europe and served as chef de cuisine at the three-star French Laundry for seven years before opening Benu. Earlier this month, he released a 33-course tasting menu that captures Benu’s history and philosophy. The chef won his first James Beard award by the time he was 28.


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Edward is the chef and owner of the restaurant 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Ky. A Brooklyn native, Edward is a Top Chef Season 9 alum and is the author of cookbook Smoke & Pickles. His culinary style combines Korean cuisine with Southern soul food. Since 2011, Edward has been nominated four times as a finalist for Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation.


Alongside her husband, Seif Chirchi, Rachel Yang heads the Korean-French restaurant Joule in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. The couple also runs Revel, a sleek, contemporary Korean restaurant that specializes in grilling “whole animals” in an outdoor barbecue. Yang was also a James Beard semifinalist in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

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Korean American restaurant Parachute has also nominated for best new restaurant. Parachute is helmed by wife-and-husband chefs Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark. KoreAm Journal will be featuring the couple in our upcoming April/May 2015 issue.

You can view the full list of James Beard Foundation Awards nominees here. Winners will be announced in Chicago on Monday, May 4.


Correction: This article previously stated that three Korean American chefs were nominated for the James Beard Awards. The story has been updated to include Chef Rachel Yang of Joule. We apologize for the error.