This Milwaukee Restaurant Owner Is Considered the Best Chef in the Midwest

Chef Dane Baldwin just won a prestigious James Beard Award.

Big news out of Chicago: Chef Dane Baldwin, co-owner of Milwaukee’s The Diplomat, is the winner of the 2022 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Midwest. The awards were announced Monday, June 13, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Baldwin was one of six semifinalists. The other nominees in that category were Milwaukee’s Karen Bell of Bavette and Gregory Leon of Amilinda and three Minneapolis chefs: Jorge Guzman of Petite Leon, Sean Sherman of Owamni and Yia Vang of Union Hmong Kitchen.


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This is the first time since 2014 – the year Sanford’s Justin Aprahamian won the award – that the honor has gone to a Milwaukee chef. 

Before opening The Diplomat with his spouse, Anna, in 2017, Baldwin worked in the kitchens of Harbor House, Mr. B’s: A Bartolotta Steakhouse and Carnevor, among other restaurants.

Baldwin was one of a group of local chefs who participated in the roundtable conversation (“Chef Talk”) that appeared in our March issue. He also cooked at our Chef Event held in April at Bartolotta’s Downtown Kitchen. 



Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.