The James Beard Foundation has announced the semifinalists for the 2024 James Beard Awards.

One of the talented chefs is Kelsey Barnard Clark of Dothan, Alabama. She shared her excitement earlier today in a heartfelt post.

“There are hardly times where words leave me & tears flow. Winning Top Chef was number one. Being nominated for a James Beard Award is now two. This is a tough career y’all- it’s hard on the body and even harder on the brain. When I decided to leave fine dining and pave my own way in my small Alabama town I pretty much gave up on any dreams of winning this prestigious award. Becoming my definition of a Chef became significantly less important to me than being a leader, a businesswomen, and a change maker in this field. I put my team before the dreams and second guessed it, a lot. Now I know that that’s what being a true chef is all about.

Thank you JBF, my clients, fans, diners, town, state, teams, families and friends. Making all of you proud has always been the real deal. Fellow nominees: I’m so honored to be on this list of true superstars- thank y’all for setting the bar so damn high that this truly feels unbelievable.”

See below for Alabama’s semifinalists:

The Hope Farm in Fairhope for Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program.

Kelsey Barnard Clark of KBC in Dothan for Best Chef: South.

Rob McDaniel of Helen in Birmingham for Best Chef: South.

Arwen Rice of Red or White in Mobile for Best Chef: South.

Chanah Willis of Last Call Baking in Birmingham for Emerging Chef.


See the full list of semifinalists here.