Restaurants in Mystic, Connecticut and Maine win

The James Beard Foundation held its 33rd annual awards ceremony in Chicago on Monday, June 10. Several area restaurants and chefs were finalists, and three New England establishments received awards.

Portland, Maine, is enjoying increasing popularity as a bakery destination and has won two James Beard Awards. Atsuko Fujimoto out of Norimoto Bakery won the award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker”.

Fujimoto thanked the bakery's six employees – “a golden team,” she said – and reflected on her unlikely success: She came to Maine from Tokyo at age 30 with no kitchen experience whatsoever.

Also in Portland, TO Bakery won the “Outstanding Bakery” award.

“Bread making is a mysterious business, and once you are fascinated by the wonder of yeast, you will bake bread for a lifetime,” said the owner Barak Olins, Quote by James Beard.

Fried smelt at The Shipwright's Daughter in Mystic, Connecticut.Bread and Butter Photography/Lisa Nichols/Hearst CT Media

Mystic Pizza is no longer the most famous restaurant in Mystic, Connecticut. David Standridge out of The shipbuilder's daughter was named the best chef in the Northeast. His restaurant, which focuses on locally sourced seafood, opened at the height of the pandemic in June 2020.

Standridge attributed his success to his young children.

“When they came, my perspective as a chef changed from what's best for me to what's best for the community and the next generation, which is to leave this world a little better than I found it,” he said.

Seaweed focaccia from Norimoto Bakery for Seaweed Week.

Senegalese Restaurant Dakar-Nola displaced Dorchesters Comfort kitchen in the category Best New Restaurant. Erika Whitaker And Kelly Whitaker out of ID EST Hospitality Group in Boulder, Colorado, won in the category “Outstanding Restaurateur.” Chris Viaud out of Ansanm, Green leafAnd pavilion in Milford and Wolfeboro, NH, was also nominated.

Langbaan in Portland, Oregon was named Outstanding Restaurant. Michael Rafidi of Albi in Washington, DC was named Outstanding Chef.

You can reach Kara Baskin at Follow her @kcbaskin.

Anna Harden

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