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Two Filipino Chefs Named Finalists for 2024 James Beard Awards

Celebrating Excellence in Filipino Cuisine

James Beard Awards for 2024

As April celebrates Filipino food month, the culinary world receives exciting news of recognition for two Filipino chefs. The James Beard Foundation has unveiled its finalists for the prestigious 2024 awards, often likened to the Oscars of the culinary realm.

Nikko Cagalanan

James Beard Awards for 2024

Nikko Cagalanan, born and raised in the Philippines, immigrated to the United States in 2011 and initially pursued a career in nursing. However, inspired by his passion for Filipino cuisine, he transitioned to cooking.

In 2018, Cagalanan relocated to Charleston to further his culinary journey and founded Mansueta’s Filipino Food in early 2019. Since then, he has introduced his elevated take on traditional Filipino dishes to Charleston and various cities across the country through pop-ups and collaborations.

In 2022, Cagalanan was honored as the Best Filipino Restaurant in South Carolina by Food & Wine magazine and achieved the title of Chopped Champion in November. This year, he looks forward to opening his own restaurant, Kultura, where he plans to showcase not only Filipino cuisine but also host chefs from diverse cultures.

Additionally, he intends to transition Mansueta’s, named after his grandmother, into a product line featuring his favorite Filipino staples for home enjoyment.

Lord Maynard Llera

James Beard Awards for 2024

Chef Maynard Llera, as the Culinary Director of The H.wood Group since 2017, brings his culinary expertise to a diverse portfolio including The Nice Guy, Mason Restaurant, Delilah, and more. Originally from the Philippines, Llera’s journey began in the United States, where he studied culinary arts and refined his craft at prestigious establishments like The Green Room and Bestia.

Infusing each restaurant with his Filipino heritage, he reinvents classic flavors while prioritizing quality and approachability. From traditional Italian dishes to playful tapas, Llera’s menus reflect his commitment to craftsmanship and culinary innovation.

Looking ahead, Chef Llera is poised to embark on new culinary adventures with the launch of a second Mason location in Santa Monica and the opening of Alice at 1 Hotel West Hollywood.

With his dedication to culinary excellence and his creative flair for blending diverse flavors, Chef Maynard Llera continues to leave an indelible mark on the culinary landscape, captivating palates and hearts alike with his innovative approach to cooking.

Anticipation Builds for Awards Ceremony

James Beard Awards for 2024

The culinary world eagerly anticipates the winners’ announcement, set to take place at the esteemed James Beard Restaurant and Chefs awards ceremony on June 10. The event, hosted at the iconic Lyric Opera of Chicago, promises to be a celebration of culinary excellence and innovation.

The recognition of Nikko Cagalanan and Lord Maynard Llera as finalists underscores the growing prominence of Filipino culinary talent on the international stage. Their achievements serve as a testament to the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Philippines, captivating palates worldwide.


The recognition of Nikko Cagalanan and Lord Maynard Llera as finalists for the James Beard Awards 2024 marks a significant milestone for Filipino culinary talent. As April celebrates Filipino food month, their achievements shine a spotlight on the rich and diverse flavors of Filipino cuisine on the international stage.

From Cagalanan’s dedication to showcasing Filipino heritage through his elevated take on traditional dishes to Llera’s innovative fusion of flavors in his diverse culinary portfolio, both chefs exemplify the culinary excellence and creativity that define Filipino gastronomy.


Read Also: The Filipino Culinary Renaissance: A Flavorful Journey to Center Stage in the US


Written by Marjo Piedad

Traveler | Foodie | CONTENT EDITOR
📍Cebu, Philippines
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