Michael Gallina voted James Beard Award finalist for ‘Best Chef: Midwest’

Original Article By:  Ian Froeb, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Michael Gallina of Vicia [represented by L3’s Kevin Shapiro] is one of five finalists for “Best Chef: Midwest” in the 2019 edition of the prestigious James Beard Awards.

The James Beard Foundation announced the award finalists on Wednesday morning (March 27) in Houston. The winners will be revealed at the James Beard Awards gala in Chicago on May 6.

Gallina tells Off the Menu he is “blown away” by the honor. In fact, he was working at Vicia, picking up a shift for one of the cooks on the lunch team, when he heard the news.

“I scared the crap out of them” by screaming, he says.

Gallina says being a James Beard Award finalist represents how hard everyone at Vicia works.

“I’m so happy for the whole team,” he says.

Gallina’s fellow nominees for the “Best Chef: Midwest” are Michael Corvino of Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room in Kansas City, Mo., and three Minneapolis chefs: Ann Kim of Yong Joni, Jamie Malone of Grand Cafe and Christina Nguyen of Hai Hai.

“Best Chef: Midwest” honors chefs in the region including Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North and South Dakota. Gerard Craft of Niche won the award in 2015, and Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe took the honor in 2017.

This is Gallina’s first time as a James Beard Awards finalist. He was also a first-time semifinalist this year.

Gallina was one of seven St. Louis semifinalists for this year’s awards. Jesse Mendica of Olive + Oak, Lona Luo of Lona’s Lil Eats and Ny Vongsaly of Billie-Jean were also semifinalists for “Best Chef: Midwest.”

In addition, Nick Bognar of Nippon Tei was a semifinalist for “Rising Star Chef of the Year,” Nathaniel Reid was a semifinalist for “Outstanding Pastry Chef” and Planter’s House was a semifinalist for “Outstanding Bar Program.”

A vote by James Bead Award judges (mostly members of the food media) and past James Beard Award winners determines which semifinalists become finalists.

Gallina, a Brentwood native, returned to St. Louis in 2015 with wife, Tara, from the world-renowned Tarrytown, N.Y., restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns, where he was chef de cuisine.

The Gallinas opened Vicia in 2017. Among its awards, it was named one of the country’s best new restaurants by Eater and Esquire. This restaurant critic awarded it 4 stars and named it the No. 1 restaurant in the 2019 STL 100.

In addition to VICIA, Kevin specializes in and represents several  national and local restaurant concepts. L3 Corporation is a leading retail commercial brokerage firm specializing in tenant representation, landlord representation and property acquisition and disposition. Members of L3 Corporation have brought deals to fruition in excess of 35,000,000 square feet spanning over 100 cities throughout the United States and Canada. L3 Corporation is focused exclusively on retail real estate. Contact Kevin Shapiro  for more information on VICIA or for any of your retail real estate needs.

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