Four Portland chefs named finalists for James Beard awards

Four Portland chefs named finalists for James Beard awards
Naomi Pomeroy in her kitchen at Beast.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Foodies in Portland and Seattle love to argue about which city has the better restaurants. Of course, the debate is largely subjective with both sides generally favoring the home team.

But if you want an objective measurement, consider the lists of finalists for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Northwest” award: Portland scored three spots on the finalists list, compared to just two for Seattle.

Naomi Pomeroy of Beast, Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon and Cathy Whims of Nostrana are all finalists for the award.

Two Seattle chefs rounded out the category. The winner will be announced in May.

Rounding out the Oregon nominees, Portland’s Ken Forkish of Ken’s Artisan Bakery is a finalist for the “Outstanding Pastry Chef” award. He is up against pastry chefs from New York City, Miami and San Francisco.

Pomeroy has been previously nominated for four Beard awards and been a finalist twice, but has yet to walk away with a win.

“It’s such an honor, it’s wonderful,” Pomeroy told KATU during a profile story after she was named as a semi-finalist for the award.

Her restaurant in Northeast Portland is decorated with Beard’s books, including one signed copy.

“The first time I ever baked bread was out of the bread book,” she said.

Rucker has previously won the “Rising Star Chef of the Year” award.

Read more: Full list of nominees

Watch a profile of Naomi Pomeroy from KATU's Valerie Hurst: