At the James Beard Foundation Awards, held Monday night, June 5, two Portland nominees took home awards: Kann won Best New Restaurant and Berlu’s Vince Nguyen won Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific. The awards, which honor restaurants and chefs across the country, are considered one of the highest accolades in the restaurant industry.
Kann opened in Portland’s Central Eastside in August 2022, featuring wood-fired Haitian cuisine. Since opening, it’s been widely celebrated in local and national media, being named Eater Portland’s Best New Restaurant for 2022 and receiving a nod on Esquire’s list of Best New Restaurants in America, 2022. Kann’s win marks the first time a Portland restaurant has been named Best New Restaurant in the history of the Beard Awards.
Kann is the first restaurant opened by chef Gregory Gourdet, whose resume includes serving as chef de cuisine at one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s New York City restaurants and a decade-long tenure at the Portland pan-Asian restaurant Departure. Gourdet has previously been recognized by the James Beard Foundation; he was a semifinalist in the Best Chefs in America category in 2015, 2018, and 2019, and a nominee in the same category in 2020. Gourdet also won a James Beard Media Award for his cookbook, Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health, in 2022.
Chef Vince Nguyen, who serves a contemporary Vietnamese tasting menu at his restaurant Berlu, took home the award for Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific. Fellow Oregon chefs Thomas Pisha-Duffly (Gado Gado) and Joshua Dorcak (MÄS in Ashland, OR) were also nominated in the category. Prior to opening Berlu in 2019 and its spin-off Berlu Bakery in 2020, Nguyen worked as sous chef at Castagna and at tasting menu restaurants like Noma in Copenhagen and the Royal Mail in Australia.
The Burgerville Workers Union, a collective of Burgerville workers who successfully negotiated the country’s first fast food union contract in 2021, won the Emerging Leadership Award.
For the full list of 2023 James Beard Award winners, see here.
Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Awards. Eater is partnering with the James Beard Foundation to livestream the awards in 2023. All editorial content, including this post, is produced independently of the James Beard Foundation.
Updated Friday, June 9 at 12:06 a.m.: This story has been updated to include the Burgerville Workers Union.