James Beard Finalists Announced; Next In Line For Two Awards

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Mar 19, 2012 8:20PM

2012_2_22_jamesbeard.gif The finalists for this year's James Beard Awards were announced a few moments ago and Next capped off an amazing first year with nods for Best New Restaurant and chef Dave Beran as Rising Star Chef, a new award category given to the best chef under the age of 30.

Beran's boss, Grant Achatz, also received another honor. He's among the inductees for Beard's "Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America."

Paul Kahan is again a finalist for Outstanding Chef; he previously was a finalist in 2009 and 2011. Hot Chocolate's Mindy Segal earned her sixth consecutive nod for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

Chicago Chefs dominated the list for Best Chef: Great Lakes. Stephanie Izard, Sepia's Andrew ZImmerman, Schwa's Michael Carlson and North Pond's Bruce Sherman join Anne Jearney of Rue Domaine in Dayton, Ohio as finalists. Spiaggia and Topobolampo earned nods for Outstanding Service.

On the food journalism side, the Tribune's Kevin Pang is in the running for Food-Related Column, while former Sun-Times food editor Janet Rausa Fuller earned a well-deserved nod in the Health and Well-Being category. ABC 7's Steve Dolinsky earned yet another nod for best Television segment, while Sky Full of Bacon and Grub Street Chicago Editor Mike Gebert, a Beard winner last year, earned a nod for Television or Webcast video special.

Charlie Trotter, who announced he's closing his eponymous restaurant at the end of August, was previously announced as the foundation's Humanitarian of the Year."

The Beard Foundation will announce the winners of their awards on May 4 (for the media category) and May 7 (chefs). Here's the complete list.

Update: The Aviary also received a nod for Outstanding Bar Program, another Achatz nomination. The Violet Hour also received a nomination.