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James Beard Nominee Field Flush With Chicagoans

By Melissa McEwen in Food on Mar 24, 2015 4:30PM


The James Beard Foundation just released its list of finalists for the awards this morning, which will be held in Chicago this May. Chicago nominees include:

Best New Restaurant: Parachute
Outstanding Bar Program: The Violet Hour
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Dana Cree of Blackbird
Outstanding Restaurateur: Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others)
Outstanding Service: Topolobampo
Rising Star Chef of the Year: Tanya Baker of Boarding House
Best Chef: Great Lakes: Curtis Duffy of Grace, Paul Virant of Vie, Erling Wu-Bower of Nico Osteria, Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia
2015 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award: Richard Melman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

Podcast: Rick Bayless and Steve Dolinsky's The Feed Podcast
Television Segment: The Hungry Hound hosted by Steve Dolinsky and produced by Irit Nayden on ABC7 Chicago
Food and Culture Journalism: What Happens When All-Star Chefs Get in Bed with Big Food? by Mike Sula in Chicago Reader
MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award: Kevin Pang's Fixed Menu in Lucky Peach
Restaurant Design (75 seats and under): Bureau of Architecture and Design's James Gorski and Tom Nahabedian for Brindille

View the full list on the James Beard website.

Eater this week had a fantastic compilation of charts that make it difficult not to see a strong New York City bias. Part of this may stem from the fact New York City has its own category, while Chicago does not. Chicago food writer Anthony Todd makes a strong case for giving us our own category, which would allow us to compete with NYC more evenly and also give other restaurants in the nebulous "Great Lakes" region a fighting chance to compete.