PROVIDED BY KWOK'S BISTRO: Kwok Chen, right, chef-owner of Kwok's Bistro in downtown Reno, has been named a semi-finalist in the Best Chef Southwest category in the 2022 James Beard Foundation Awards. He's shown here with his son Danny Nguyen, the restaurant's manager.

The Oscars of the food world have recognized Reno.

The James Beard Foundation just announced its Restaurant and Chef Awards semi-finalists for 2022. The Beards are often called the Oscars of the food world because they are this country’s most prestigious culinary awards.

Troy Cannan, longtime chef and co-owner of LuLou’s Restaurant, and Kwok Chen, chef-owner of Kwok’s Bistro, are semi-finalists in the Best Chef category for the Southwest region covering Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

Chapel Tavern, a founder of Reno’s cocktail culture, is a semi-finalist in the Outstanding Bar Program category.

“It’s exciting. It’s encouraging. It’s humbling,” Cannan said of the nomination, adding that the fact Reno has three semi-finalists shows the city’s food and drink scene “is on the way up.”

The last time Reno received a James Beard nod was 2013, when Mark Estee, then chef-owner of Campo, was a semi-finalist in the Best Chef category for the West region.

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

Disclosure: I have been a James Beard Awards judge since 2013.

Johnathan L. Wright is the food and drink editor for Reno News & Review. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsJLW or on Facebook personally or at @FoodNevada.

Johnathan L. Wright

Johnathan L. Wright is the former food and drink editor of Reno News & Review. During his career, Johnathan has won numerous awards for his work, including several Association of Food Journalists Awards...

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