Watch as Alba chef Joe Tripp, who has been named a 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist for the Midwest region, prepares a tasting menu for customers at the East Village eatery in Des Moines. Michael Zamora/The Register
James Beard Foundation came out with its short list of nominees for Restaurant and Chef Award finalists on Tuesday, and Des Moines’ only nominee didn’t make the cut. Joe Tripp, the chef behind Jason Simon’s Alba in the East Village, was a nominee for Best Chef Midwest, but he did not move forward.
Time Magazine has referred to the James Beard Foundation awards as the “Oscars of the food world.” In February, the foundation announced its long list of 20 nominees in 21 categories, which are then pared down to five, who go on to compete for the JBF medal, awarded in May in Chicago. A chef from Des Moines has never won the award, let alone moved forward to the short list.
Tripp joined the East Village’s contemporary American restaurant Alba less than three years ago after working at Fruition Restaurant in Denver, where his mentor chef Alex Seidel was just named a finalist for Best Chef Southwest.
Paul Berglund of The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, Justin Carlisle of Ardent in Milwaukee, Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Café in St. Louis, Lenny Russo of Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market in St. Paul, and Kevin Willmann of Farmhaus in St. Louis all made the short list of nominees for Best Chef Midwest.
Restaurateur Simon earned a Best Chef Midwest nomination in 2011, and his restaurant Eatery A on Ingersoll Avenue received a Rising Star Chef nomination for chef Nic Gonwa in 2015.