The James Beard Foundation has released its annual list of semifinalists for the Restaurant and Chef Awards. On the list are 13 North Carolina eateries and chefs, 9 of which are in or near the Triangle. The James Beard Awards are considered the highest awards in the food industry. The semifinalists in North Carolina are:
- Best New Restaurant -Mateo Tapas, Durham, NC
- Outstanding Restaurant - Lantern, Chapel Hill, NC
- Outstanding Pastry Chef - Phoebe Lawless, Scratch, Durham, NC
- Outstanding Wine Program - Angus Barn, Raleigh, NC
- Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional - Eric Solomon, Eric Solomon Selections – European Cellars, Charlotte, NC; Sean Lilly Wilson, Fullsteam, Durham, NC
- Rising Star Chef of the Year - Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC
- Best Chef: Southeast - Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner, Raleigh, NC; Scott Crawford, Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa, Cary, NC; Vivian Howard, Chef & the Farmer, Kinston, NC; Scott Howell, Nana’s, Durham, NC; Elliott Moss, The Admiral, Asheville, NC; Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto, Hillsborough, NC
A full list of nationwide nominees is available here. While some of this year’s North Carolina nominees have been semifinalists in the past, chef Andrea Reusing of Lantern is the only one to have received a James Beard Award before. She was awarded the Best Chef: Southeast in 2011. Among those who were caught off guard by their nominations is Phoebe Lawless of Scratch, who reacted this way on Twitter after acknowledging the news:
— scratch baking (@scratchbake) February 19, 2013
Each year in October, the James Beard Foundation receives nominations from all over the country for the prestigious awards (they had more than 44,000 this year). A committee then narrows the selection down to semifinalists, and finally over 600 judges nationwide – restaurant critics, food and wine editors, past James Beard Award recipients, and culinary educators – vote for the finalists and winners.
The Foundation will announce finalists on March 18 and the winners on May 3.