Orlando chef, restaurateurs named as semifinalists for James Beard Awards

Two Orlando restaurateurs and a chef behind popular sushi and ramen brands across the city, are semifinalists for James Beard Awards.

On Wednesday, the James Beard Foundation announced its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards Semifinalists for nearly two dozen categories in the industry.

In the category of outstanding restaurateur, brothers Jimmy and John Tung, who founded the Bento Asian Kitchen chain of restaurants over 20 years ago, were nominated for establishments that include Bento, Doshi, and Camille.

The Tung brothers operate 20 locations of Bento across central Florida. The award recognizes the brothers’ efforts to use their establishments as “a vehicle for building community,” demonstrating “creativity in entrepreneurship and integrity in restaurant operations,” according to a press release from the foundation.

In addition to the Tung brothers, Henry Moso was named a semifinalist for best chef in the south for his work at Kabooki Sushi. Moso is competing against 19 other chefs from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Lousiana, Mississippi, and Puerto Rico. Kabooki Sushi currently operates two locations on East Colonial and Sand Lake road.

The nominations follow a year of accumulating accolades across the Orlando restaurant scene. In June, four Orlando restaurants were awarded a Michelin Star, while multiple others were recognized with Bib Gourmand awards.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards are considered among the nation’s most prestigious honors and recognize exceptional talent in the culinary and food media industries.

In March, nominees will be announced and in June, the awards ceremony will be held in Chicago, Illinois. For more information on the semifinalists, visit the James Beard Foundation Awards website.

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