James Beard Semi-Finalists Announced

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Feb 22, 2012 4:40PM

2012_2_22_jamesbeard.gif It's James Beard season again and semi-finalsits for the annual awards were announced yesterday. Chicago, befitting its status as one of the world's culinary epicenters, was well-represented.

(These are not the final nominees, but some of these names could wind up on the finalists list which will be announced in a few weeks.)

Paul Kahan, Tony Mantuano and Carrie Nahabedian are in the running for Outstanding Chef. Kahan and Mantuano have made it to the finalist round before Kahan last year, Mantuano in 2010) while this is the first time Nahabedian has made it to the semi-final round.

Among the semi-finalists for Rising Star Chef, awarded to the best chef under the age of 30, are Dave Beran of Next, Blackbird's David Posey and L2O's Matthew Kirkley. Patrick Fahy of Cafe des Architectes and Hot Chocolate's Mindy Segal are again in the running for Outstanding Pastry Chef; Segal has made the finalists round for years but never seems to come home with the prize.

The Best Chef: Great Lakes category contains such names as Michael Carlson, perennial nominee Bruce Sherman of North Pond, Paul Virant, Stephanie Izard of Girl & The Goat, Bostronomic's Martial Noguier, Chris Nugent of Goosefoot, Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish & Oyster and Sepia's Andrew Zimmerman. Spiaggia and Topolobampo are in the running for Outstanding Service. And The Aviary and The Violet Hour are semi-finalists in the new Outstanding Bar Program category.

Charlie Trotter, who announced in January he would be closing his eponymous restaurant in August, was already named the James Beard Foundation's Humanitarian of the Year.