Detroit pastry chef Warda Bouguettaya wins James Beard Award

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Chef Warda Bouguettaya of Midtown's Warda Pâtisserie will bring a James Beard Award medal back home to Detroit. 

For the first time in two years, members of the American culinary world gathered in person at the Lyric Opera of Chicago Monday night to celebrate chefs and restaurants at the 2022 James Beard Foundation Awards. 

Warda Bouguettaya of Warda Patisserie in Detroit won a James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef Monday night in Chicago.

This year, three Detroit restaurants were represented at the live event. 

Helmed by Argentinian chef Javier Bardauil, Detroit restaurant Barda was nominated for the Best New Restaurant award and Omar Anani from Saffron De Twah was listed as a finalist for Best Chef Great Lakes. 

Bouguettaya collected her medal for Outstanding Pastry Chef and spoke about her journey from cooking with her mother in her native Algeria to opening her cafe in Detroit. She talked about her desire to create a cafe that celebrates "a borderless world" and thanked her team in Detroit, her farms and partners and her family, including her parents, husband and daughters. 

Warda Pâtisserie in Midtown Detroit at 70 W. Alexandrine.

Warda Pâtisserie — which sells beautiful financiers, cheesecake, tortas and coffee drinks — was originally located near Eastern Market within the venue Trinosophes. It graduated to a standalone cafe in Midtown Detroit at 70 W. Alexandrine. 

"I'm most excited to see first time winners ... someone's life gets changed every time their name gets pulled from the hat," celebrity chef and television personality Andrew Zimmern said on the red carpet before the show. He spoke about presenting James Beard Awards in the past. "There's something about putting it around somebody's neck ... the beauty of that is that there's a moment."

In addition to Zimmern, other notable attendees included the award show's host chef and author Kwame Onwuachi, chef Marcus Samuelsson, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and actor Christian Clemenson who plays James Beard in the HBO series "Julia" about Julia Child. 

"We went through a lot and we're still processing a worldwide pandemic," said Onwuachi, who was named the James Beard Awards Emerging Chef of the Year in 2019. "They shut the world down and we deserve applause for getting out of bed today ... we all deserve accolades for getting here tonight."

Established in 1991, the James Beard Awards are considered one of the country's top culinary honors. The awards returned this year after a hiatus to undergo a full audit of policies and procedures.

The James Beard Foundation, named after the late chef and cookbook author, aims to celebrate and support those behind America's food culture. Learn more at

Twitter: @melodybaetens