COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, January 24, 2024) – Three Columbia culinary powerhouses, including Lula Drake Wine Parlour, Kiki and Tyrone Cyrus and Robbie Robinson, have been named 2024 James Beard Awards® semifinalists. The three have been nominated in different award categories:
•    Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program: Lula Drake Wine Parlour
•    Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV): Kitwanda “Kiki” Cyrus and Tyrone Cyrus, Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles
•    Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV): Robbie Robinson, City Limits Barbeque
This is Lula Drake’s second consecutive nomination and this announcement boasts first-time James Beard Award recognition for Kiki and Tyrone Cyrus and Robbie Robinson.

These semifinalists are preceded by last year’s historic nominations for Chef Jessica Shillato in the Best Chef: Southeast category, Lula Drake in the Outstanding Hospitality category and CITY GRIT Hospitality Group (Aaron Hoskins, Sarah Simmons and Elie Yigo) in the Outstanding Restaurateur category. Both Lula Drake and CITY GRIT advanced to the finalist stage and traveled with their teams to the awards ceremony in Chicago. 
“Having not one but three James Beard semifinalists for a second year in a row speaks to the strength of our region’s culinary talent and offerings. This prestigious recognition is expanding to new semifinalists as well as continuing appreciation for a previous nominee. We could not be prouder or more excited to have captured and maintained the attention of the James Beard Foundation and we are optimistic that this is only the beginning of a long line of nominations and, hopefully, wins still to come,” said Experience Columbia SC President and CEO Bill Ellen.
The James Beard Foundation announced its 2024 Restaurant and Chef semifinalists for the James Beard Awards® presented by Capital One today. Finalists will be announced on April 30, 2024, and winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on Monday, June 10, 2024, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. You can find the complete list of semifinalists here.