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Chicago's 2024 James Beard Award Winner

Daniel Hautzinger
A James Beard Award on a ribbon against a white backdrop

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The winners for the American food industry's biggest awards have been announced, and Chicago has one winner among them. The James Beard Awards were held in Chicago at the Lyric Opera again, bringing many of the most talented chefs, bakers, restaurateurs, and beverage professionals in the country to the city. This year, Chicago only had four nominees, one less than in 2023, when Chicagoans won in two categories. The Beard Awards have lately tried to broaden their categories and award winners outside of major food cities like Chicago.

At the Beard Media Awards held this weekend at Columbia College, season 2 of the PBS special series La Frontera with Pati Jinich won in the Docuseries Visual Media category. You can stream the whole second season of La Frontera, and revisit our interview with Pati Jinich upon the premiere of the first season of the show, which explores the food and culture of America's border with Mexico. 

Here is Chicago's winner.

Outstanding Hospitality

Lula Cafe - Jason Hammel's seasonal produce-centered Logan Square restaurant celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, a remarkable span of longevity for any restaurant, so the win in this national category that honors the whole team behind a restaurant is a fitting laurel. Hammel published a cookbook looking back on favorite recipes last year; we spoke to him about his career. Although Hammel has been nominated several times for Beard Awards, this is Lula's first win.

The award was presented by previous James Beard Award winner Sarah Grueneberg of Chicago's Monteverde, and the Lula team received a particularly raucous cheer at the ceremony held in their home town.