It was a near shutout Monday evening for Los Angeles restaurants and restaurateurs at the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards in Chicago, with only one local nominee emerging victorious.
Caroline Styne of the Lucques Group walked away from the finals as Outstanding Restaurateur, beating out fellow local nominees and semifinalists Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan of Rustic Canyon Group. With establishments like Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern, Styne's local gastronomical empire is a fixture of Los Angeles' culinary landscape and the Weekly's annual 99 Essential Restaurants.
“Seriously can't believe what happened tonight!!! I'm beyond blown away and am so sincerely grateful,” Styne wrote in an Instagram post thanking her family and “restaurant family.”
The momentous victory was an emotional one for Styne, who told L.A. Weekly in the runup to the awards that she felt “like the Susan Lucci of the food world — always being nominated but never winning.”
While the Lucques Group made the leap from contender to winner, its peers were less fortunate. Felix Trattoria (Venice), Kismet (Los Felix) and Vespertine (Culver City) all earned spots on the Best New Restaurant List but none clinched the top honor.
Perhaps more disappointing, Los Angeles came away empty-handed for Best Chef in the West, even though seven of the list's 20 semifinalists were from the City of Angels.
This year's eard Awards crowned only 21 winners, from an applicant pool of more than 20,000 entries.
See the complete list of winners here.
Editor's Note: Story has been updated to reflect that Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan were semifinalists.