Abe Conlon and Adrienne Lo of Fat Rice. Conlon won for Best Chef Great Lakes. Credit: Sun-Times Media

First Greg Wade of Publican Quality Bread lost out for Outstanding  Baker. Then Sarah Rinkavage of Marisol went down for Rising Star Chef of the Year. And then Meg Galus of the Boka group lost for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

Chicago’s first win tonight at the James Beard Foundation chef and restaurant awards, held at the Lyric Opera House, was Abe Conlon of Fat Rice for Best Chef Great Lakes. Conlon beat out four other Chicago entrants: Andrew Brochu of Roister, Beverly Kim and  Johnny Clark of Parachute, David Posey and Anna Posey of Elske, and Lee Wolen of Boka.


There were high hopes for Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of Boka Restaurant Group (latest restaurants Somerset and Bellemore, their 14th and 15th) for Best Restaurateur, but that didn’t work out either, nor did their flagship, Boka, win for Outstanding Service.

At least Sun Wah‘s preordained Lifetime Achievement Award just goes to show that no matter how much the city loves to shut you down, people can still love you.