Words & Deeds

Boise chef is nominated for a James Beard Award. Have you eaten at the restaurant?

It’s another day at the office for Boise chef Kris Komori.

For the third straight year, the chef de cuisine at State & Lemp, 2870 W. State St., has been named a Best Chef: Northwest semifinalist in the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards — aka the Oscars of the culinary universe.

Finalists will be revealed March 14. Winners will be crowned May 7 at the James Beard Awards Gala in New York City.

With three consecutive James Beard nods, Komori is the rock star of Idaho’s chef world. A graduate of the College of Idaho, he sharpened his kitchen skills in Portland before moving to the Gem State. Komori’s creative, constantly changing menus drew fast admiration when State & Lemp opened in 2013. The small room seats 22 diners, who share the same multi-course, fixed-price meal ($80).

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Kris Komori in the kitchen at State & Lemp in Boise. Katherine Jones Statesman file

James Beard glory doesn’t just benefit Komori and State & Lemp’s talented team. It helps make Boise more attractive to young and ambitious chefs, who tend to be drawn to opportunities in larger cities.

Komori is the only Idaho semifinalist in 2018. Last year, Idaho had one other James Beard semifinalist. Laurent Zirotti of Fleur de Sel in Post Falls also was nominated for Best Chef: Northwest.

If Komori advances past the semifinals, it would a first for the state. Because of population and region, the politics of James Beard voting stacks the deck against Idaho.

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