RICHMOND, Va. -- Hollywood has the Oscars. Music has the Grammys. And the food world has the James Beard Awards. The James Beard Awards honor the nation's best chefs, restaurants, and food journalists.
Richmond-area diners should be familiar with several 2020 award nominees.
Sunny Baweja, chef and co-owner of Lehja in Short Pump, earned a semifinalists distinction in the category of Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.
Lehja is considered to be one of the finest Indian restaurant - not only in Virginia - but in the nation.
“I’m lucky this is my passion and profession at the same time,” Baweja told Scott Wise and Robey Martin in a recent episode of their "Eat It, Virginia!" podcast. “I enjoy every single thing. If I’m in the kitchen, I want to give 100 percent. If I’m at the bar, I want to make sure you tell this is the best drink… I love it all.”
Baweja was nominated for the same award last year.
Another previous nominee honored again in 2020 is Peter Chang.
Chang's authentic Szechuan cooking has delighted fans and watered eyes at his restautants in Short Pump and Scott's Addition.
He and his wife Lisa Chang have been nominated for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic for their Fairfax, Virginia restaurant Mama Chang.
Evrim and Evin Dogu, the brother and sister team behind Sub Rosa Bakery in Church Hill, also picked up a
vrim and Evin Dogu, the brother and sister team behind Sub Rosa Bakery, picked up a James Beard semifinalist nomination for Outstanding Baker.
Other Virginia nominees include Katherine Thompson, from Thompson Italian in Falls Church, for Outstanding Pastry Chef and Rutger de Vink, from RdV Vineyards in Delaplane, for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony on May 4.