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Two Columbus Chefs Named Semifinalists For James Beard Awards

In a notable recognition for the Columbus culinary scene, two local chefs have been announced as semifinalists for the prestigious James Beard Awards.

The awards, established in 1990, celebrate outstanding talent and achievement in the culinary arts, highlighting commitment to broader values such as racial and gender equity, community, and sustainability.

And the Semifinalists are…

Chef Avishar Barua, renowned for his work at Agni and Joya’s, has been recognized in the Best Chef: Great Lakes category, which encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Joya’s, Barua’s daytime cafe, has gained popularity for its Bengali-American fusion cuisine, featuring signature dishes like the crowd-pleasing Breakfast Sandwich served on a Pav-tato roll.

bowl of fried rice
Joya’s fried rice. Photo by Chelsea Wiley

Barua’s culinary journey extends to national platforms, including a notable appearance on Season 18 of Top Chef and a win over acclaimed chef Bobby Flay in an Indian street food challenge on Beat Bobby Flay. Joya’s is located at 657 High St, Worthington, OH 43085. You can learn more by visiting

MORE LIKE THIS: Joya’s Cafe Is An Absolute Must Try For Anyone That Enjoys Great Food< BJ Lieberman of Chapman’s Eat Market secures his second consecutive year as a semifinalist in the Best Chef: Great Lakes category. Chapman’s Eat Market, situated in the former Max & Erma’s in German Village, has received acclaim from both the James Beard Awards and The New York Times, solidifying its reputation as an outstanding restaurant.

Wings salad food at Chapmans Eat Market
via Facebook

Lieberman’s culinary expertise contributes to the restaurant’s success and further establishes Columbus as a notable player in the national culinary landscape. Chapman’s Eat Market is located at 739 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43206. You can learn more by visiting

MORE LIKE THIS: Chapman’s Eat Market Is As Beautiful As It Is Delicious, And It’s Pretty Freaking Tasty

What comes next?

These nominations spotlight Columbus’s growing influence in the culinary world and position the city’s chefs on a national stage. The James Beard Awards’ recognition of Avishar Barua and BJ Lieberman reaffirms the vibrant and diverse culinary scene in Columbus.

The anticipation builds as we await the official nominees’ announcement on April 3, with the winners revealed at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on June 10 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The local community eagerly awaits the results, hoping to see Columbus chefs clinch top honors and bring further acclaim to the city’s culinary excellence.