San Diego Chef Makes James Beard Award Semifinalist List

February 23, 2022

The James Beard Foundation today announced its Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists for the 30th annual James Beard Foundation Awards, and one San Diego chef made the coveted list.

After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, the James Beard Foundation today announced its 2022 finalists, and Chef Anthony Wells of Little Italy’s Juniper & Ivy is named as a finalist in the Best Chef California category. Wells started at the 8-year-old restaurant as a sous chef under co-founder and celebrity chef Richard Blais, who is currently a judge on Fox's hit cooking competition Next Level Chef. 

In spring 2021, it was announced that Wells would be moving on from Juniper & Ivy with Chef Jason Franey later chosen to take over as Executive Chef following a national search. Franey ended up leaving the restaurant last fall after only 4 months and Wells took back the reigns in the kitchen. Wells is still expected to leave Juniper & Ivy later this year to open his own restaurant, likely with the backing of Juniper & Ivy owner Michael Rosen.  

Juniper & Ivy owner Mike Rosen and Chef Anthony Wells
Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards is considered to be among the nation’s most prestigious honors, recognizing exceptional talent in the culinary and food media industries, as well as "a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive." The James Beard Awards further the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Each award category has an individual committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program. All JBF Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes. No San Diego chef has ever won a James Beard Award. 

The full list of 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists can be found on the James Beard Foundation website. Finalists will be announced on March 16, and winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 13, 2022, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. During the event, awards in the Restaurant and Chef and Restaurant Design categories will be handed out, along with special achievement awards. A gala reception will immediately follow, featuring top chefs and beverage professionals from across the country. 

For more information about the James Beard Foundation Awards, visit