Two KC-area spots are up for Beard Awards

The team at Yoli/Photo by Rebecca Norden and Caleb Condit

After a two-year hiatus prompted by the cancelation of awards announcements that reportedly would have included no Black chefs, the James Beard Foundation Awards are back.

Two Kansas City spots are included among the nominees for the awards, which will be held in Chicago in June.

Marissa and Mark Gencarelli of Yoli Tortilleria in KCMO are nominated for outstanding baker. Carl Thorne-Thomsen of Story in Prairie Village is nominated for Best Chef Midwest.

Congratulations to the Gencarellis and Thorne-Thomsen, who are very deserving.

Two nominations for the Kansas City area is not an exciting year the food scene on the whole—Milwaukee snagged nine nominations and Tulsa (!!!) had seven.

Once billing itself as the “Oscars of food” and having broad respect in the food and beverage industry—or at least the industry’s good ol’ boys’ network—the Beard Foundation is attempting to bounce back and regain credibility after the chaotic decision to cancel the presentation of awards that had already been voted on, and then taking an entire year off. Among the new measures are “an independent volunteer ethics committee” that will “address allegations made about potential winners, or members of the voting body.”

Eater has appraised this year’s group as “one of the most diverse — across race, gender, geography, styles of service, and styles of cuisine — in the foundation’s history.” The voting block is now different, with the foundation setting a goal of having “forty-five percent of committee members and judges be people of color this year,” climbing to fifty percent next year.

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