“Close but no cigar;” James Beard Award eludes Hackney Executive Chef

Published 1:43 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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Jamie Davis, Executive Chef at The Hackney, waited with bated breath as announcers for the James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony announced who would be named the 2024 Best Chef Southeast on Monday night at the Chicago Opera House in Chicago, Illinois. Davis was among five nominees from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and West Virginia.  

He did not hear his name called, but rather, the name of 1010 Bridge Executive Chef Paul Smith from West Virginia. 

Davis considers it an honor to be nominated. He hopes the nomination will draw attention to Eastern North Carolina chefs and entice chefs to work in the region. 

“And now it’s like we’re going to get more talent in Washington. Before they were like ‘oh, they have a good restaurant out there,’” Davis said about the Hackney in a previous interview with the Daily News, “but now it’s like ‘they’ve got a James Beard Semi-Finalist there. Okay, I want to work there.’” 

He continued to say that he hopes the nomination will show younger chefs in small towns that they don’t have to work in a big city to be successful. Success can be achieved anywhere. “It could be motivating for younger people in smaller markets who always feel like you have to live in a bigger city to make it, but you really don’t. Hopefully that will change somebody’s opinion,” Davis said in a previous interview. 

In an email sent on Monday, The Hackney staff shared that they “are so proud and thankful for Chef Jamie Davis and excited about the future at The Hackney, our beautiful little town of Washington, NC and our OUTSTANDING suppliers that keep raising their game to give us the best products!” 

The Hackney will be closed on Tuesday, June 11 and Wednesday June 12 as Davis and Hackney staff make their way back to Washington. The Hackney will reopen on Thursday, June 13 at 5:15 p.m. It is located at 192 West Main Street. Reservation requests can be emailed to reservations@thehackneydistillery.com.