Several local chefs and restaurants are on the semi-finalist list for the 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards. Ben and Karen Barker’s landmark Southern restaurant, Magnolia Grill, is one of 20 establishments in the running for Best Restaurant (that would be in the entire country, thank you very much).
Four local chefs are on the list for Best Chefs in the Southeast: From Chapel Hill we have Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner, Andrea Reusing of Lantern, and Chip Smith of Bonne Soirée. Durham is represented by Scott Howell of Nana’s. Hmm, no Raleigh institutions were recognized, although two Charlotte-based chefs are on the list.
I also have some sentimental favorites I’m pulling for: John Currence of Oxford, Mississippi’s City Grocery should win for Best Chef in the South. Sean Brock of Charleston’s McGrady’s is clearly one of the Rising Star Chefs in the country. And there are so many worthy candidates for Best Chef, it would be hard to pick one. But that’s why this is all fun, right?