Henry Moso, chef and owner of Kabooki Sushi in Orlando, has completed what no other chef in Central Florida has been able to do: He is a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef – South Award.
There have been a lot of regional cooks who have been named to the semifinalists record above the 32 years of the awards’ record but no one particular – in any category – has innovative to the finals.
Moso’s co-nominees for the South location, which incorporates Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Puerto Rico, are: Ana Castro, Lengua Madre, New Orleans Timothy Hontzas, Johnny’s Cafe, Homewood, Ala. Alex Perry and Kumi Omori, Vestige, Ocean Springs, Pass up. and Natalia Vallejo, Cocina al Fondo, San Juan, PR.
Jimmy and Johnny Tung, the proprietors of the Bento Group, have been semifinalists for Superb Restaurateur, a national award, but did not make the finals. Moso was earlier a semifinalist in 2020.
Kabooki Sushi opened in 2013 in an odd location close to the corner of Colonial Push and Maguire Avenue. A second spot opened in the Restaurant Row District in 2019.
The chef awards will be introduced at a gala in Chicago on Monday, June 5. Tickets for those people who would like to go to and cheer Moso on will go on sale Mar. 31 at 5 p.m. and can be procured in this article. The awards will be livestreamed on Eater.
To see the full checklist of finalists, check out jamesbeard.org.
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