New Orleans is no stranger to the James Beard Awards, known as the food industry’s highest honor. Local chefs and restaurants are consistently among the nominees, and this year is no different, with 9 finalists leading the way. The best part is, you don’t have to be in NOLA to get a taste of some of the nominees. Here’s how to experience the Beard Award finalists from afar.

Rebecca Todd

Outstanding Chef Nominee: Donald Link of Herbsaint

Donald Link’s “Real Cajun” and “Down South” cookbooks offer a look inside his famed restaurants, Herbsaint being one of them. Known for his use of local seafood and local flavor, these recipes will quickly become staples in your home. For those of you in New Orleans, Herbsaint is now reopened for dine-in service.

Outstanding Hospitality Nominee: Brigtsen’s

This quaint restaurant at the edge of Uptown is away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, but still brimming with ambiance. Chef Frank Brigtsen's hospitality translates into his new “Stay At Home” cookbook, featuring recipes for gumbo, étouffée, banana pudding, and more. Carefully curated spice blends are available for shipping as well. Check out the GoNOLA Cookbook Club Instagram series, where Chef Frank recently took over to make Chicken Étouffée.

Best Chef South Nominee: Mason Hereford of Turkey and the Wolf

More than just a sandwich joint, Turkey and the Wolf infuses local ingredients with creativity to invent tasty treats, like the fried bologna and collard green melt. Check out their merch, which includes t-shirts, patches, and other items just as inventive as the sandwiches. 

Rebecca Todd

Outstanding Wine Program Nominee: Bacchanal

Part wine laboratory, part backyard party, Bacchanal can only be experienced in New Orleans. Head over to their Instagram for glimpses of jazz, ukulele tunes, and more live music from afar and next time you’re in NOLA, plan to head over to Bacchanal. And if you’re in the city, you can also order online for curbside pickup.

Best Chef South Nominee: Isaac Toups of Toups’ Meatery

For a taste of Chef Toups' award-winning Cajun cooking, check out the “Chasing the Gator” cookbook, which is available along with his famous hot sauces. You can also grab his recipe for chicken and andouille gumbo with cornbread here, or you can try your hand at his dirty rice jambalaya, featured in the video below. And if you’re in New Orleans, you can order Toups to go until the restaurant reopens its dining room. 

NOLA Eats: Dirty Rice Jambalaya
NOLA Eats: Dirty Rice Jambalaya

Support these nominees with the purchase of a gift card, or make plans to visit next time you’re in NOLA:


Past winners and nominees have menu items available for shipping nationwide. Check out the turtle soup from Commander’s Palace, or order Willa Jean’s famous chocolate chip cookies. The options are endless for getting a taste of NOLA food from afar.