Christina Nguyen wins Best Chef Midwest at James Beard Awards

Christina Nguyen accepts the Best Chef Midwest award onstage during the 2024 James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards at Lyric Opera Of Chicago on June 10, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for James Beard Foundation)

Minneapolis Chef Christina Nguyen won a James Beard Award after being named Best Chef Midwest for her restaurant Hai Hai. 

Nguyen, who runs Hai Hai in northeast Minneapolis and Hola Arepa in south Minneapolis, took home the award at a ceremony in Chicago on Monday night. 

The James Beard Awards are known as one of the highest honors in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Nguyen was among five semifinalists from Minnesota, but the only one to win Monday night. She beat out another Twin Cities chef, Ann Ahmed, for the Best Chef Midwest award. 

The Best Chef Midwest category included chefs from Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Previous award winners have included Gavin Kaysen for Spoon & Stable in Minneapolis and Ann Kim for Young Joni.