Beard Award Semi-Finalists Announced

jamesbeardSeveral 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?

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2 Responses to Beard Award Semi-Finalists Announced

  1. burgeoningfoodie says:

    I’d love to just attend one of their celebrations even if it is by proxy. I’m surprised that some of the same people get nominated. What I mean to say is that I would have liked to seen more or new names from this area. While I don’t disagree with the majority of the the names listed and while it does mean they are consistently great, how does it reflect upon the growth of great chefs in our area? I’ve never been to Crook’s partially because the people who have grown up here have said it’s touristy, but then again if I were to go to NYC, I’d definitely try to get a seat at one of the top names up there. Congrats to the nominees and I’m wondering if Chef Jim Anile or Rob Bland will be nominated next year? Do the chefs/restaurants have to have been around for a certain time to be in the running?

  2. burgeoningfoodie says:

    I may have to head towards Crooks given that Mr. Smith has made to the finalist round. I’m surprised given the publicity that Andrea has gotten that she didn’t make it through (as far as I can tell) and having eaten at Chip Smith’s gembox of a restaurant, I was sorta pulling for him. Congratulations to everyone! … now can anyone get me in to the actual awards banquet?!

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