Johnny’s Restaurant Chef Timothy Hontzas and Bottega named James Beard Awards finalists

Frank, Pardis and Weston Stitt – Bottega Favorita (Bham Now)

Once again, the Birmingham area will be well-represented at this year’s James Beard Awards.

This morning, the Foundation formally announced its 2023 finalists. Who made the list from Alabama?

Drumroll please…

For the second year in a row, Johnny’s Restaurant chef Timothy Hontzas was named a finalist for the Best Chef in the South category. 

In the outstanding hospitality category, Bottega, which is owned by Pardis and Frank Stitt, are among the five finalists.

What are the James Beard Awards 

Also known as the “Oscars” of the food world, the James Beard Awards first started in 1990 by the James Beard Foundation to recognize culinary professionals and their achievements in the field. 

Not New to James Beard Judges

Birmingham, Alabama, Meat and Three Guide, Timothy Hontzas
Chef Timothy Hontzas. (Johnny’s Restaurant’s Instagram)

This year’s James Beard finalists from Alabama are not strangers to the James Beard judges.

Hontzas has been a semi-finalist and finalist every year since 2017 in the Best Chef in the South award category (there was a pause during the COVID pandemic).

And of course, Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar and Grill won the Outstanding Restaurant Award in 2018, along with a Best Chef in the Southeast honor back in 2001.   

Birmingham List of James Beard Awards Winners

Adam Evans
James Beard winner of the Best Chef in the South for 2022, Automatic Seafood and Oyster’s Adam Evans. (Caleb Chauncey)

Last year, Birmingham’s own Automatic Seafood  and Oysters chef Adam Evans won the Best Chef in the South award.

Over the years, several beloved Birmingham chefs and restaurants have won the prestigious James Beard Award including:

Mark Your Calendars

Lots to look forward to at this year’s James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on June 5th at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Will Hontzas be the 2nd consecutive Alabama chef to win the South’s Best Chef Award? Can Pardis and Frank Stitt’s Bottega win their second  James Beard award in the restaurant category? 

Watch this space.

Who do you think will win this year? Tell us on social media by tagging @bhamnow on social media

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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