Juniper & Ivy’s Anthony Wells Is a James Beard Award Semifinalist

Chef handing a plate to a server

The San Diego chef, who has worked at Juniper & Ivy since 2014, is recognized in the Best Chef, California

The James Beard Foundation Award’s semifinalists list arrived today, February 23, and one San Diego restaurant is being recognized for the significant contributions of its executive chef to the culinary landscape in California. Chef Anthony Wells of Little Italy’s Juniper & Ivy has been named a Best Chef, California semifinalist.

This year marks the return of the James Beard Foundation Awards, a program generally viewed as the most prestigious awards in the industry: In August 2020, the foundation announced that it would not be awarding winners from its previously released finalists list, citing difficulties from the ongoing pandemic; a New York Times report indicated its cancellation also pointed to discord over nominees who had allegations surfacing from workers in their restaurants and the lack of Black winners. In 2021, the Awards were also canceled as the foundation continued to audit its own ethics policies, voting practices, and overall approach to selecting winners for its categories.

In its almost eight years serving local and visiting diners in San Diego, Juniper & Ivy has become known for its relationship with local farmers and fishermen; much of its creative direction and culinary approach has been informed by Wells, who recently revamped the winter menu.

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