It isn't just awards season in the entertainment world.

A day after the 2024 Academy Awards nominees were announced (including one for a Minnesota native), the semifinalists for the top honors in the food industry have been revealed.

The 2024 James Beard Foundation awards recognize those chefs and establishments that create 'exceptional food, food media content, and better food systems while demonstrating a commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive'.

Several local chefs/bakers and restaurants/bars are on the elite list in 2024.

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Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean
Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean (Google Maps)

Among the semifinalists in the category Best Chef: Midwest (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin) is Sanaa Abourezk from Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean in Sioux Falls. She is a semifinalist for the second straight year.

The 19 other nominees in the category include four chefs from Iowa and Minnesota restaurants:

Four other local chefs/establishments are semifinalists in national categories:

The 2024 finalists will be announced April 3 and the winners will be crowned at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony, June 10 at the Lyric Opera of

The James Beard Awards were established in 1990 to 'recognize exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system.'

The awards are named after the late American chef, cookbook author, teacher, and television personality James Beard, who passed away in 1985 at the age of 81.

Detour Dining: Off-the-Beaten-Path Restaurants You Must Try in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa

Beyond the well-traveled tourist paths, there’s a whole different world of food exploration throughout South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. From tiny restaurants in historic towns serving up generations-old recipes to small town dive bars that not only have cheap, cold beer, but unique and unexpected homemade dishes.

We’ve created an exploration of off-the-beaten path restaurants nestled in the charming landscapes of the tri-state area. Take a detour from the ordinary and discover the extraordinary flavors as you travel the roads not-so-often traveled. 

Gallery Credit: Karla Brown / Townsquare Media

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