The James Beard Foundation announced its list of semifinalists for the 2024 Chefs and Restaurants Awards on Wednesday, which included Gusto Bread, Ammatoli and La Parolaccia Osteria.
The foundation grants some the nation’s most prestigious culinary honors. In the early 1990s, the foundation created the Chefs and Restaurant Award, one of five recognition programs of the James Beard Awards.
Gusto Bread on Fourth Street was recognized in the “Outstanding Bakery” category, a new section that was added in last year. The bakery has gained national recognition since opening in 2020 for its artisan bread loafs, savory pastries, pan dulce (sweet bread) and more.
Under the “Best Chef: California” category Chef Dima Habibeh of Ammatoli as well as Chefs Michael Procaccini and Stefano Procaccini of La Parolaccia were named.
Chef co-owner and Jordan-born Dima Habibeh, who is both Palestinian and Syrian, opened Ammatoli in Downtown in 2018. The restaurant imports spices, oil and more from the Middle East region to recreate Levantine recipes in the heart of Long Beach.
In Bluff Heights, La Parolaccia serves up authentic Italian food from Rome, where owner Stefano Procaccini was born. The restaurant has made a name for itself making thin-crust, wood-fired Roman-style pizza for the past two decades. Freshly made pasta and other regional dishes from places like Umbria and Emilia-Romagna can also be found there.
The James Beard Foundation awards are administered by an independent volunteer subcommittee in tandem with the foundation.
Appearing on the semifinalist list does not guarantee a nomination. The list of nominees will be announced on April 3 and winners for each category will be announced at an event in Chicago on June 10.
No Orange Country restaurants or chefs received recognition this year, but 11 LA restaurants and chefs made the list. See that list here.
Ammatoli is located at 285 E. Third St.; Gusto Bread is located at 2710 E. Fourth St and La Parolaccia Osteria is located at 2945 E. Broadway.