The culinary masterminds of Montana should be very proud. The James Beard Foundation has just recognized it's 2023 semifinalists (nominees) and some of Montana's best have indeed been included. The best part of the announcement is the variety of towns that are noted.

Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash
Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability.

We've been talking more and more about fantastic restaurants, chefs, and food authors across Montana in recent months. World class fare is no longer difficult to find. Cities large and small have become hubs of innovative food, menus, and farm-to-table methods - from Missoula to Malta. (I mean, WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT ROUNDUP, MONTANA?)

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James Beard awards represent the best of not just food, but hospitality and sustainability - things Montana has been cultivating for many years. This year is an excellent celebration of our chefs and restauranteurs. We should all be very proud. (For perspective, Los Angeles had 20 nominees included in this year's list and there are over 30,000 restaurants in LA.)

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  • 2023 Outstanding Restaurateur: Albert McDonald, The Mint, Pizza Campania, and Backcountry Burger Bar, Bozeman, MT
  • 2023 Best New Restaurant: The Backporch, Roundup, MT
  • 2023 Outstanding Bakery: Grist Milling & Bakery, Missoula, MT
  • 2023 Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker: Veronika Baukema, Veronika's Pastry Shop, Billings, MT

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  • 2023 Best Chef: Mountain Region (includes CO, ID, MT, UT, WY): Michael Annandono, Michaelangelo's Big Sky, Big Sky, MT
  • 2023 Best Chef: Mountain Region (includes CO, ID, MT, UT, WY): Andy Blanton, Cafe Kandahar, Whitefish, MT
  • 2023 Best Chef: Mountain Region (includes CO, ID, MT, UT, WY): Chris Lockhart and Danny Mowatt, PREROGATIvE Kitchen, Red Lodge, MT
  • 2023 Best Chef: Mountain Region (includes CO, ID, MT, UT, WY): Paul Naugle, Izakaya Three Fish, Bozeman, MT
  • 2023 Best Chef: Mountain Region (includes CO, ID, MT, UT, WY): Earl James Reynolds, Stone Hill Kitchen + Bar, Bigfork, MT

Congratulations to all of the recognized chefs, restaurants, bakers, and culinary experts. This is such fantastic news for all of us in Montana, and as a woman who would rather spend money on a good meal than buy a new pair of shoes or purse - you have my personal "Thank You".

See the Full List of 2023 James Beard Awards Semifinalists/Nominees

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Photo by nmw brands on Unsplash
Photo by nmw brands on Unsplash

Best Groups for Montana Foraging and Mushroom Hunting

If you love gathering fresh and wild edibles, these are the best online resources to learn the basics or share your expertise. Foraging is a labor of love for special food, and it requires important knowledge along with lots of patience.

Montana Cookbooks - Food and Cooking From Big Sky Country

Montana chefs and home cooks offer award winning recipes that are distinctly Montana. Cookbooks can be found on just about every kind of culinary fare, from Bison BBQ to extensive fine dining recipes. Great food and hearty recipes have been a Montana tradition for generations. We were able to find all of these cookbooks locally or online.

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