Four Pittsburgh Chefs Among Semifinalists for Prestigious James Beard Awards

The James Beard Foundation aims to celebrate and support the people behind America’s food culture.


Several local chefs have been named semifinalists for a prestigious award.

Established in 1991, the James Beard Awards is considered to be among the nation’s top honors that recognize exceptional talent in the culinary and food media industries.

In the running for the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category are four chefs at three Pittsburgh-based eateries. 

Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski of Apteka in Bloomfield, Wei Zhu of Chengdu Gourmet in Squirrel Hill and Bethany Zozula of North Side’s 40 North at Alphabet City have all been named among the 20 semifinalists. The Mid-Atlantic category encompasses chefs from Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.



Chefs in this category are those “who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities, and who are making efforts to help create a sustainable work culture in their respective regions,” according to a press release. They may be from any kind of dining establishment but must have been working as a chef in the region for at least three years. This marks Zhu’s fifth nomination for his Sichuan restaurant, which he opened in 2014. Zozula, too, was previously nominated in 2018 for her work at Whitfield in East Liberty’s now-closed Ace Hotel. This is the first nomination for Apteka’s Lasky and Skowronski.



For the last two years, the New York-based foundation has suspended the awards because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (One of Zhu’s nominations was in February 2020, right before the pandemic pressed pause on life as we knew it.) But this year, the awards are back.

Restaurant and Chef Awards finalists, in addition to honorees for Leadership, Lifetime Achievement Award and Humanitarian of the Year Awards, will be revealed on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Nominees for the James Beard Foundation Media Awards will be released on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in New York City. 

Finalists will be announced on March 16 and winners will be announced at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 13, 2022, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. 

For a full list of semifinalists, click here.

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