Ruta Smith file photo
Delaney Oyster House chef Shamil Velazquez earned a Best Chef Southeast semifinalist nomination in the 2020 James Beard Foundation awards
Today, the James Beard Foundation announced its 2020 semifinalists and as always, Charleston got a few acknowledgments. Many of these folks have seen a JBF nom before, but Charleston newcomer Shamil Velazquez
scored a nomination for Best Chef Southeast
just a few months after he helped open Delaney Oyster House
with Neighborhood Dining Group (Husk, McCrady's) in the fall.
Velazquez says the nomination comes as a surprise: "I'm very humbled, I wasn't expecting it. It's cool to be associated with so many great chefs, like Katie Button from Curate [in Asheville]."
He credits the positive environment of everyone on the Delaney team with the restaurant's quick success in Charleston. "We stick to our own thing, we're doing us. We're going to stay positive, humble, and cooking good food."
Additional nominations include:
The Grocery's Kevin Johnson, Best Chef Southeast
Leon's Oyster Shop, Outstanding Hospitality
FIG, Outstanding Restaurant
Steve Palmer, Outstanding Restaurateur
High Wire Distilling Co., Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer
In addition to Steve Palmer's nomination, Indigo Road Hospitality Group also posted an acknowledgement for Tiny Lou's in Atlanta.
The finalists will be announced on Wed. March 25 with an awards gala to follow in Chicago on May 4.
Check out all the semifinalists online at jamesbeard.org