The semifinalist nominees in the restaurant and chef categories of the 2024 James Beard Awards were announced today, and the long list includes just one nod for San Diego. Tara Monsod, executive chef of Animae, is one of the 20 semifinalists in the Best Chef: California category, joining local chef nominees from recent years including Jon Bautista (2023), Anthony Wells (2022), and Claudette Zepeda (2019).
Monsod previously cooked at Juniper & Ivy and Tender Greens before joining Animae in 2021 as executive sous chef, eventually stepping up to lead the kitchen and earning the then-two-year-old restaurant an Eater Award for Best Reinvention.
Known for her community-building skills, Monsod — who frequently collaborates with other chefs — is at the forefront of a movement to shine a bigger spotlight on Filipino food, keeping Animae packed with diners eager to taste her take on Filipino classics like kare-kare.
The James Beard Foundation will be announcing the finalists in the restaurant and chef categories on April 3 and the winners will be revealed at a gala ceremony in Chicago on June 10.