After her third nomination, at last it's congrats to the Seattle chef and her whole crew — and it's a win for women chefs in general, too.

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Chef Renee Erickson is a 2016 James Beard Award winner. The third time’s a charm: She’d been a finalist for three years in a row in the hotly contested Best Chef Northwest category. Congrats to her and the entire Sea Creatures crew!

The Seattle chef — whose restaurants include Bateau, The Whale Wins, and The Walrus and the Carpenter — is having a very good spring. Bon Appétit’s Andrew Knowlton just raved about her skills (“the chef and her growing family of restaurants… have made me president of the Everything Renee Erickson Does Is Awesome Fan Club”), while brand-new Bateau got an extremely rare four-star review here in The Seattle Times.

Renee Erickson, already having fun at the Sunday night pre-James-Beard-Awards festivities in Chicago with Kevin Hiemenz and Dan Crookston. (Courtesy Renee Erickson)
Renee Erickson, already having fun at the Sunday night pre-James-Beard-Awards festivities in Chicago with Kevin Hiemenz and Dan Crookston. (Courtesy Renee Erickson)

And, according to Eater’s data analysis, Erickson’s Beard also counts as a score for female chefs, who’ve historically had a lower chance of winning than men and duos. Tonight also saw a number of additional stats-defying female winners in important national categories: Suzanne Goin of Lucques in L.A. for Outstanding Chef, Daniela Soto‐Innes of New York’s Cosme for Rising Star Chef of the Year, Dahlia Narvaez of L.A.’s Osteria Mozza for Outstanding Pastry Chef, and Joanne Chang of Boston’s Flour Bakery + Café for Outstanding Baker. Perhaps a tired old gender-tide is turning?

Here at home, Seattle had sadly few finalists for the restaurant industry’s most prestigious awards this year. Canlis did not get beyond finalist status for Outstanding Wine Program, but congrats again to them for the nomination — and to the other Seattle finalists Mike Easton of Il Corvo, and Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi of Joule/etc. Next time!

Find all the 2016 James Beard Award winners here.

Renee Erickson, owner of Seattle restaurants including The Walrus and The Carpenter, reflects on how her Pacific Northwest roots have influenced her food philosophy as she pulls up Dungeness crab from Shilshole Bay. (Corinne Chin / The Seattle Times)